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Taiwan Lantern Festival to spark off Feb. 24 in Hsinchu
Central News Agency
2013-02-12 08:23 PM
Taipei, Feb. 12 (CNA) The Taiwan Lantern Festival will light up Feb. 24 this year in the northern county of Hsinchu, in a grand finale of the month-long Lunar New Year festivities and celebrations. The main display at the festival will be a 26-meter high snake lantern, illuminated from inside by 200,000 LED lights, depicting the Year of the Snake on the lunar calendar. Designed to look like a snake rising toward the sky, the lantern is meant to carry wishes heavenward for the country's prosperity. Visitors to the annual festival can also expect dazzling light shows around four smaller lanterns that signify the traditional Lunar New Year wishes of wealth and good luck. One of the lanterns is shaped like a pile of jewelry and gold ingots, while another looks like Pixiu, a mythical hybrid creature in Chinese folklore that signifies wealth. The other lanterns depict a phoenix in flight and an elephant, signifying peace. Another highlight of the festival will be a Japanese parade featuring a large illuminated dragon-shaped float, called a "nebuta" in Japanese, and more than 100 people marching and dancing to the sounds of drums and festival music. The float symbolizes prayers for world peace and gratitude to Taiwan for its assistance to Japan in the wake of a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. The parade, usually the centerpiece of the Aomori Nebuta Festival in the Japanese prefecture of Aomori, will be held in Taiwan Feb. 28 and March 2 and 3. During the annual Taiwan Lantern Festival, which will run until March 10, videos on ecological sustainability will be projected onto a giant curved screen to raise awareness of the issue. The outdoor screen -- 10 meters high and 70 meters wide -- is the largest in Taiwan. (Lin Rui-yi and Scully Hsiao)
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