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January/or early February
15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar, a second "New Year"
celebration takes place throughout the city. Children carry lanterns illustrated
with legendary heroes, birds and beasts to Taipei's temples. It is a
competition, of sorts, for favor from the "God of Heaven," whose birth this
Lantern Festival, Shang Yuan, commemorates. The largest gathering of lanterns is
at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, an event so popular that the city fathers
have extended it with various Lantern Exhibitions running through the following
combines traditional arts with modern technology, using light and music effects
to display the lanterns to best advantage. Thousands of lanterns are strung
along the length of Jenai Road, lighting up Taipei City at night.
year; the 15th day of the 2nd month in the Chinese lunar calendar, the birthday
of the founding sage of Taoism, Lao Tse, is celebrated by Taoist practitioners
throughout the world.
of Lao Tse's birthday is calculated according to the Chinese lunar calendar. The
dates change from year to year.
of the God of Medicine
celebration takes place four days before the God of Medicine's actual birthday
on the 15th day of the third lunar month. It is one of the most visually
stunning and vibrant parades in Taiwan, if not the whole of the Far East. The
center of the celebrations, which are spread throughout the more than 160
temples of the god in Taiwan, are the temples of Pao Sheng in Taipei and the
Temple of Ching Tzu in Hseuhchia.
incredible procession at Ching Tzu Temple is more than 3km (2 miles) long and is
composed of a huge number of dancing troupes, priests, pilgrims and costumed
musicians. There are around 21 traditional floats decorated with flowers, each
containing a figure from legend or story, as well as a number of huge statues of
the medicine god himself, carried on sedan chairs on the shoulders of pilgrims.
The highlight of the parade is always the performance put up by the various
theatrical and dancing troupes, the Chen Tou, of which up to 78 participate at
one time, showing off their talents in a suitably flamboyant manner.
is headed by a group called the Centipedes and as the procession gets underway
worshippers throw themselves on the ground in front of them to be trampled, in
order to exorcise evil spirits and demons.
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Month Festival and Quianggu
believers claim that spirits of the dead return, demanding sacrifice,
entertainment and appeasement from the living, for an entire month.
first day of the Ghost Month, the living set up lavish feasts and opera
performances to entertain the dead, burning paper money (more than 220,000 tons
of paper money are burned in Taiwan every year for the festival!) to keep them
festivities peak on the 15th day of the month, when there are huge feasts in
temples throughout Taiwan and the priests chant prayers for the dead to enable
them to transcend their present condition. The festival is dedicated in part to
those dead who do not have families to pray for and look after them, to enable
them too to transcend to higher levels of the afterlife through sacrifice and
traditional in Taiwan to sacrifice a pig and a sheep for these feasts and offer
them up to the invisible dead in attendance. During the feasts the cityscapes of
Taiwan, particularly the temple courtyards, are transformed by tall lights set
up on bamboo poles, lit to light the way for the dead. Hundreds and thousands of
little floating lights are also set adrift on rivers and bodies of water, to
appease the spirits of the drowned, who might otherwise return to claim new
Keelung hosts the most important of the Ghost Month celebrations,
with parades and elaborate feasts at Tsu Pu Tan Temple in Chung Cheng Park. The
largest festivals in Taiwan are held in this area on the seventh day of the
month and again at the end of the month.
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Taiwanese celebrate the year's finest moon with cakes and contemplation.
the lunar calendar was reflected in the cycles of the soil, while the autumn
moon marked the end of the agricultural year; a time to celebrate and reflect.
festival is the occasion for consumption of the famous moon cakes. Traditionally
filled with red bean paste, these are presented to friends and family to mark
the occasion. When darkness comes, the parks around Taipei fill with families
and couples seeking to enjoy the full moon.
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Ceremonies In Commemoration of Confucius at the Confucius Temple
Confucius was China's greatest teacher. The anniversary of his birthday is
celebrated on September 28 each year. Solemn ceremonies are held at the
Confucius Temple; schoolchildren perform a ritual dance in honor of
Confucius on the platform outside the Ta Ch'eng Hall.