Archive for the 'Pingxi' Category

04
Mar
07

Glowing

It is raining rather heavily outside, but it was clear and dry when we sent our wishes into the sky in Pingxi tonight.  I hadn’t realized that sky lanterns are so enormous, but they are about as big as I am.  We braved tons of people crowded onto trains to go to Pingxi, and it was completely worth it.

We were standing on the stairs waiting to get onto the platform to change trains before we gave up and went to find a taxi instead.

First, we walked across a rather wobbly suspension bridge.

(After our winding, yet beautiful ride in the taxi through the mountains, the rocking of the suspension bridge with our footfalls made me slightly rocky myself.)

Then, we walked on the train tracks to see the highest waterfall in Taiwan.

My cousin grabbed me the large leaf of a taro root to serve as my umbrella, which I was very glad of on my return home.

Then, we went into Pingxi as the first firecrackers and sky lanterns were taking off.  There are lanterns of many colors.  Red is for celebrations.  Green is for Growth.  Purple is for Opportunity.  Pink is for Love.  White is for Health.  There are also blue and orange lanterns, but I never found out what wishes those are supposed to be for.

We got four lanterns and painted them with our wishes.  There was a packet of oily paper money to put inside each lantern.  You’re supposed to separate the leaves of paper and kind of rip and wrap them around the center of the frame.  With someone holding the lantern, you light it with a lighter.  The whole lantern begins to glow and get hot and tug off of the ground.  You let go, and it lifts, some fast, some spinning, higher and higher and within a minute, it’s as if you’ve sent a star off to the sky– a tiny burning bubble of hope.  My cousin told me that one popular wish was to win the lottery.

Some lanterns had firecrackers attached…

I wished for my students to grow into thoughtful, caring, wise adults, for my family and friends to be happy,  for peace, and for a wedding and family reunion involving dancing and singing.   Letting go of each lantern feels so wonderful– it’s warm and lighter than air, bringing your wishes up to the heavens next to the slow-rising full moon.

We were at the train station when the rain began.  In spite of the rain, you could still see lanterns floating up through the air.

After looking at these videos on YouTube from last year, I wish I’d thought to take some video– but I was just too thrilled at the sight of all those lanterns to remember things like that.

This blog has more about Lantern Festival Celebrations in Taiwan, including the traditions down South where they shoot fireworks directly at people.

More about the Lantern Festival Traditions here and Pingxi’s Sky Lanterns.




Free Rice

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May 2017
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