Taiwan Lantern Festival opens, despite coronavirus fears

Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) The official 2020 Taiwan Lantern Festival opened Saturday in the central city of Taichung, with the transportation minister urging event goers to take precautions against the deadly coronavirus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which has since spread to other countries.

Lin Chia lung (???) said there will be fewer visitors than in previous years due to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019 nCoV), but assured the public that the organizers have also taken disease control measures, including setting up health stations at entrances to the festival and providing proper sanitation.

The festival, which opened at 4 p.m., started with a series of music and dance performances from groups such as the Taiwan Youth Band, the Lan Yang Dance Troupe and the HaChiGu Cultural Art and Performing Troupe, organizers said.

The main display, a Tree of Light, is a 15 meter lantern against a backdrop of real trees and flowers in an interactive setting at the Taichung Houli Flora Expo Site, according to the organizers.

The "root" of the tree lantern spreads out in 22 directions, symbolizing Taiwan's 22 municipalities.

The decorations also include 368 smaller lanterns in the shape of flowers, signifying the 368 townships and districts in the country, and 2,359 leaf like light installations representing the population of 23.59 million, the organizers said.

Visitors are able to walk into a giant display with the theme of "Mysterious Forest," which will be held through Feb. 23.

The venue also hosts lantern floats and artworks with the themes of "religion," "new immigrants" and "friendship across borders."

Another festival site has been organized at the Taichung Wenxin Forest Park, with the exhibition there offering family fun and lanterns modeled on the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac, as well as animals and cartoon characters, the organizers said.

There is fake snow and even an "aroma display" so that visitors to a section featuring jungle wildlife can smell fruit.

Foreign tourists to the events are entitled to a handheld lantern, a small limited edition gift and free access to an observation deck during the event, as long as they submit immigration documents and passports, the organizers said.

Foreign tourists to lantern festivals held in other cities can also get a handheld lantern, available while supplies last.

More information about the Taichung festival can be found at

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel