Pingxi 平溪 or Pingshi is the Sky Lantern capital of Taiwan. The Pingshi Sky Lantern Festival — held every January 15th of the Chinese lunar calendar — is an event where hundreds of sky lanterns carrying prayers and wishes are released to the heavens.
You can go to Pingxi (about an hour away from Taipei) to see the scenic countryside, and to experience making your own lantern and releasing it to the sky with your wishes and prayers.
Pingshi Township, situated at the upper reaches of the Keelung River in northeastern Taipei County, covers an area of 71.34 square kilometers. The Township is elongated in shape with many hills and valleys, and very few dotted plains in between. It is surrounded by mountains; an isolated green mountain range filled with phytoncides. Due to the northeast monsoons, rainfall is particularly heavy in the winter, add to this the geological impact of erosion from the Keelung River and its tributaries and it has created many natural treasures such as sharp rocks, cliffs, waterfalls, and potholes, earning Pingshi the nickname “Waterfall Township.”
For more information about Pingshi, please visit the official website: http://www.pingshi.com.tw/
You can also check out the Guide to Taipei’s Pingxi: http://guidetotaipei.com/visit/pingxi
History of the Sky Lantern
The sky lanterns are also known as the Kong Ming lanterns. Legend has it that the lanterns were the invention of Zhuge Liang (Kong Ming was the name of Zhuge Liang upon reaching manhood) of the Three Kingdoms Period, who utilized the same principles as that used in hot-air balloons to float the lanterns as a means of communicating military intelligence. In addition, according to the elders in the Shihfen area in Pingshi Township, bandits roamed the mountains in the early days, and villagers would seek shelter in the nearby mountains when the bandits came on a raid. After they left, the men who stayed behind in the village would fly sky lanterns as a signal of safety to beckon the villagers’ return. Although the area grew more stable later, the activity of flying sky lanterns remained and became a local custom. Today, flying the sky lanterns has become a symbol of prayers to the gods for their blessings. The sight of thousands of sky lanterns carrying peoples’ wishes and slowly floating into the night sky is a sight to behold.
(The traditional sky lanterns are big and not like the small, commercialized ones you can buy in Divisoria.)
(The Pingxi Sky Lantern Organization offers a 7 NT incentive for the return of the Sky Lantern skeleton.)
(12 golden paper = 12 periods, and each period burns for 2 hours.)
They use the right quality materials, a big lantern frame, and slow burning fuel to ensure it rises high up in the air and is safely released.
Budget NT300 for the experience.
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Live an Awesome Life,
Disclosure: Our Taiwan Fam Trip last June 2014 was courtesy of the Taiwan Visitor’s Bureau, Eva Air, and Jeron Travel. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.
P.S. This is where I personally experienced authentic Taiwanese hospitality in a slow-paced countryside of Taiwan. I loved it. 🙂