I was so excited to be in Taiwan for the Lantern Festival!

Especially as it was to be the first time the festival had been held in the City of Taipei – the capital city of Taiwan – for twenty-three years.

The festival, launched on the fifteenth day of The Lunar New Year promised to ‘Light Up The Future’ for The Year of the Rabbit.

We’d organised our entire Taiwan trip around the Lantern Festival.

We’d arrived in Taiwan a week earlier and had travelled by Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) on the Bullet Train from Taipei to the midpoint City of Taichung for a few days before exploring further south and the port City of Kaohsiung.

Then, again by train, we’d travelled the length of the country on our return to Taipei in anticipation of The Lantern Festival.

Ahead of the first night’s amazing events, during the daytime, we went into central Taipei to explore the festival areas.

The rabbit and carrot theme was already very much in evidence.

Do watch my short videos below!

We could hardly wait for darkness to fall and the lights to shine.

When I expected our eyes would be popping like rabbits’ eyes in headlights!

We could hardly wait for darkness to fall and the lights to shine!


The festival has its roots in Chinese tradition and dates back over 2,000 years.

Taipei is the original birthplace of The Taiwan Lantern Festival.

It is said to have originated during the Han Dynasty and was initially celebrated to honour Taiyi – the God of Heaven and to pray for good harvests and favourable weather.

One of the most iconic aspects of the Lantern Festival is the stunning lantern displays.

Elaborate and colourful lanterns are crafted in various shapes and sizes, often depicting animals from the Chinese zodiac, mythological creatures, or symbols of good fortune.

These lanterns are often made using traditional methods and materials, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.

Lanterns are symbolic of letting go of the past and embracing new beginnings.

People write their wishes or prayers on the lanterns before releasing them into the sky or floating them on water, symbolizing the release of worries and troubles and the hope for a bright future.

TAIWAN LANTERN FESTIVAL - TAIPEI #travel #taiwan #lanternfestival #taipei #travelwithme
I was so excited to be in Taiwan for the Lantern Festival!


The Taiwan Lantern Festival location in Taipei is held in the centre of the city in two main areas: The National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and Taipei City Hall Square.

The Main Lantern is of course The Brilliant Light of the Jade Hare.

But for the first time, the main lantern is using robot technology, which is to pay ‘homage to Taiwan’s achievements in the semiconductor industry’.

The Secondary Lantern is The Spiral Dragon which brings prosperity and blessings and is inspired by Chinese folk tales.

The lantern is ‘animated vividly every 30 minutes.’

The star of the Third Lantern is a family of giant Taiwanese blue magpies perched on a colourful tree.

This heart-warming display is also animated with light and sound every 30 minutes. 

Taiwan Lantern Festival - Year of The Rabbit
Taiwan Lantern Festival - Year of The Rabbit. PHOTOS BY JANICE HORTON
Taiwan Lantern Festival – Year of The Rabbit


The Beacons of Light Display Zone (光展區)

Fount of Light Display Zone (源展區)

Lights of the Future Display Zone (未來展區)

Central Display Zone (中央展區)

Also six sub-lights displays and over 300 Lantern Installations.

A Lantern of A Giant Taiwanese Blue Magpie. Taiwan Lantern Festival by Janice Horton
A Lantern of A Giant Taiwanese Blue Magpie

Year of The Rabbit

The main theme of Year of The Rabbit Display Zone. This includes the background ‘projection mapping’ which will produce cute colourful animated rabbits jumping and running up and down the Taipei 101 Tower.

The International Friendship Lantern Area invites you to travel around the world with captivating lanterns from Japan and other countries.

Lights of the Future represents beacons of light and a futuristic spirit, vibrant culture and future technologies.

We wandered around this exuberant event for a few hours, making memories and really enjoyed soaking up the sparkling atmosphere of fun and excitement and wonder, in this ‘Disneyland without rollercoasters!’

I could hardly wait!



Over the past six years leading up to January 2024, several cities in Taiwan have hosted the Lantern Festival.

The Taiwan Lantern Festival is also known as the Yuanxiao Festival.

It is a significant event celebrated on the 15th day of the first month in the lunar calendar and marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

The Lantern Festival is celebrated with vibrant fireworks displays, adding to the festive atmosphere.

Additionally, there are cultural performances such as dragon and lion dances, traditional music, and folk dances, showcasing Taiwan’s rich cultural heritage.

The Taiwan Lantern Festival attracts tourists from all over the world, drawing large crowds to witness the spectacular lantern displays and partake in the festivities.

Each year, different cities in Taiwan host the festival, offering visitors a chance to experience the unique cultural traditions of the region.

While rooted in tradition, the Lantern Festival has also embraced modern technology and innovation.

In recent years, there has been a trend toward incorporating LED lights and interactive elements into the lantern displays, blending tradition with contemporary art and technology.

Overall, the Taiwan Lantern Festival is a celebration of culture, tradition, and community spirit, bringing people together to usher in the new year with joy and hope for the future!

Hence the theme of the Taipei Lantern Festival of ‘Light Up The Future’.

The Lantern Festival is a significant event in Taiwan and has been celebrated widely across various cities.

The Lantern Festival is a significant event in Taiwan and has been celebrated widely across various cities.

Taipei: Being the capital city, Taipei is the most famous when it hosts the grand celebrations for the Lantern Festival

Kaohsiung: As one of the major cities in southern Taiwan, Kaohsiung hosts elaborate lantern displays and events during the Lantern Festival.

Tainan: Another significant city in southern Taiwan, Tainan is known for its historical sites and vibrant culture, making it a popular location for Lantern Festival celebrations.

Taichung: Located in central Taiwan, Taichung is known for its annual Lantern Festival events, which often attract both locals and tourists.

Yunlin: Yunlin County, while not a city itself, has hosted notable Lantern Festival celebrations, particularly in its larger towns such as Douliu.

Pingxi (New Taipei City): Though technically part of New Taipei City, Pingxi is often distinguished for its unique Lantern Festival celebrations, particularly its Sky Lantern Festival where thousands of lanterns are released into the night sky.

Click to explore our 12 Day Itinerary for Taiwan

Are you planning a trip to Taiwan?

Would you plan your trip around the lantern festival?

Let me know – I’d love to hear from you!

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