Kaohsiung Lantern Festival 2014
◎English translation: Lin Yi-jyuan
◎Photos by Pao Chung-hui, Hsieh Guan-yi, Tseng Guo-shu
This year's Kaohsiung Lantern Festival was held for 27 days and marked its 14th anniversary. Commencing on Chinese New Year's Eve (January 28th), it continued throughout the holidays and closed on Lantern Festival, on February 23rd. With a variety of colourful lanterns and the festive atmosphere of Chinese New Year, it is truly Kaohsiung's most romantic festival.
The festival is usually held at Glory Pier, however due to the construction of Kaohsiung Maritime Cultural and Music Center on Glory Pier, the festival was moved to several venues which included Kaohsiung's Love River, Sanduo and Wufu Shopping Districts, Cishan, Gangshan and Fo Guang Shan. The lights of the shopping district, along with the city government's creative installations of five million environmentally friendly LED lights gave the festival a whole new charm. All four venues commenced simultaneously.
This year the festival was particularly special, as it linked up major department stores and shopping districts. Fun lantern displays lit up and connected routes with four splendid "Gates of Light" installations. Visitors and residents were able to enjoy the glorious lanterns while doing their seasonal shopping.
Gangshan and Cishan also made fantastic contributions. In Gangshan a six meter high main lantern of giant screws and nuts was constructed to highlight Gangshan's hardware industry. Gangshan also featured spectacular 3D water and light shows and lantern displays of local celebrities. In Cishan, the whole township was lit up by a central twelve meter high, giant lantern and thousands of smaller, hand-painted lanterns constructed by local students.
The Lantern Festival is synonymous with reunions. This year just happened to fall on Valentine's Day so that a spectacular "Love and Happiness" parade was presented on February 14th. The beautiful floats and lively performances created an air of romantic ambiance. More than 1000 performers participated in the parade. Mayor Chen Chu also attended with delegates from Kaohsiung's sister cities from Japan, Korea and the United States. "Loho Horse" mini lanterns were given away along the parade route. The Lantern Festival brought about a great deal of to happiness visitors and residents throughout Kaohsiung.