Last Updated on 08-29-2022
What brought you to Taiwan? Whether you are coming to Taiwan for work, study, travel… etc. The traditional festivals in Taiwan are not to be missed! Taiwanese people especially like to celebrate festivals because when these traditional festivals come, most Taiwanese people do not have to go to work and there is a strong festive atmosphere in Taiwan, and many stores will offer many seasonal products to make the festive atmosphere even stronger. If you come to Taiwan, you must experience these important traditional festivals. This article will introduce the top 5 traditional festivals in Taiwan. You can quickly understand the meaning of Taiwan’s traditional festivals and special events!
|🧧Chinese New Year|
|Around the end of Jan and the beginning of Feb||1. Temple’s activities|
|🏮Lantern Festival||Around Feb||1. Taiwan Lantern Festival|
2. Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
3. Yenshui Fireworks Festival
4. Bombing of Master Han Dan
|🛶Dragon Boat Festival||Around the beginning of June||1. Eating zongzi|
2. Dragon boat racing
|💖Chinese Valentine’s Day|
|Around Aug||1. Taipei Valentine’s Day|
|Around mid-Sept||1. Outdoor barbecues|
2. enjoy the moon
3. Eating mooncake
- Chinese New Year
- Lantern Festival
- Dragon Boat Festival
- Chinese Valentine’s Day (Qixi Festival)
- Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival)
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is the most important festival for Taiwanese people and the most important in Chinese culture. Usually, the celebration will go from the first to the fifth day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar(The traditional Chinese calendar, is a lunisolar calendar which identifies years, months, and days according to astronomical phenomena). The general public is also called “passing the year,” which means shooing out the old and welcoming the new.
Special activities you can experience during the Chinese New Year
During the New Year, temples all over Taiwan are particularly lively, and some even hold large temple fairs. You can experience the process of praying to the gods, and some temples will even give out peace amulets.At the same time, outside the temple, there will also be some traditional drama performances, such as Taiwanese Opera, Taiwan puppet show, or some performers will also be invited to sing on stage.There are also many stalls selling food, so that people can eat while watching the show.
Taipei lunar New Year Festival street, Source: joba61
During the Chinese New Year, it is also good to visit some sightseeing spots. However, it is important to note that you should avoid driving yourself and try to choose places that are easier to reach by public transportation, because New Year is a very important holiday in Taiwan and many people will bring their families along for the trip, so it is easy to get stuck in traffic if you drive yourself. After this day, people are really entering the life of the new year.
Taiwan lantern festival, souce: Chi-Hung Lin
The Lantern Festival takes place on the 15th day of the 2nd lunar calendar, which means that it usually occurs in February. At the same time, the Lantern Festival is also the first full moon day in the new year. In Chinese culture, the Lantern Festival is also regarded as the end of the Chinese New Year. After this day, people are really entering the life of the new year. Also, on the Lantern Festival, people eat tangyuans (湯圓), symbolizing fullness and peace.
The activities you can experience during the Lantern Festival
Taiwan Lantern Festival & Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
When the Lantern Festival is approaching, many regions in Taiwan will start to hold lantern festivals for the public to visit, and these lantern festivals in different regions can best represent the arrival of the Lantern Festival in Taiwan. One of the most special is that every year, there will be a major display of Taiwan lantern festival, usually by the representative animals of the Chinese zodiac of the year to display. Not only that, there is one area in Taiwan that has a world-renowned festival, and that is the Pingxi(平溪) Sky Lantern Festival.
In history, sky lanterns were used to pray for a good crop or as a signal for people who were away from home to let their families know they were safe. In modern society, you can write your wishes on the sky lanterns.It is said that the higher and farther your sky lantern flies, the easier it will be for your wish to come true.
Yenshui Fireworks Festival & Bombing of Master Han Dan
There are also some well-known events held in specific areas of Taiwan, such as the Yenshui (鹽水) Fireworks Festival in Tainan.This event originated in the past when people would ask the gods for help to get rid of the epidemic in Yenshui, and they would set off firecrackers to welcome the arrival of the gods. In modern times, the Yenshui Fireworks Festival has become one of the most famous events of the Lantern Festival in southern Taiwan, and people even show many creative elements in the design of the firecrackers, which is well worth your visit.
Bombing of Master Han Dan (炸寒單) is the biggest event in Taitung during the Lantern Festival. According to folklore, Master Han Dan is guardian of the celestial treasury, and whenever he goes on tour, he brings good fortune. And the origin of this activity has two sayings, one is because the Master Han Dan is very afraid of cold, so people need to throw firecrackers at him to help him get rid of the cold, and in exchange for his blessing. Another saying is that Master Cold Single is a rogue god, and the louder the sound of firecrackers, the stronger his power will be.
Dragon Boat Festival
Dragon Boat Festival, New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival have been known as the top three traditional festivals in Taiwan. The festival will be celebrated on the The 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar(around the beginning of June on the solar calendar), the origin of this festival is to memorialize a patriotic poet in ancient times, his name is Qu Yuan, because he was disappointed with the country’s actions, so he jumped to his death into the river, and future generations of people in order to commemorate him, so there is now the Dragon Boat Festival.
Important Traditions of Dragon Boat Festival you can experience
At the Dragon Boat Festival, the most well-known traditions are eating zongzi (粽子) and dragon boat racing, which originated when people rowed boats to find Qu Yuan (屈原) after he jumped to his death into the river and would play drums on the boats to create a sound to scare away the fish that wanted to eat Qu Yuan’s body.
The origin of eating zongzi is that the ancient people in order to avoid the fish in the river eat Qu Yuan’s body, will be filled with rice into the bamboo sections and fed to the fish to eat, to nowadays it has evolved into the tradition of eating zongzi on the Dragon Boat Festival.
Interestingly, Taiwan holds dragon boat races every year in Taipei, Tainan, Kaohsiung…etc. One of the most famous is Dong shan river park(冬山河) in Yilan, where the river meets the standard of Western-style boating, so the dragon boat races held there also attract many people to watch the races. You can experience the strong atmosphere of the Dragon Boat Festival and the exciting race scenes in these places.
Dragon Boat race, source: 曾成訓
Chinese Valentine’s Day (Qixi Festival)
Niulang and Zhinu, Source: freepik
Chinese Valentine’s Day is also known as the Qixi Festival, this festival is celebrated on the month 7 day 7 of the Chinese lunar calendar (around the time of the solar calendar in August). The origin of this festival is developed from the legend of the cowherd and the weaver girl (Niulang(牛郎) and Zhinu(織女)).
The story goes like this, once upon a time, there was a cowherd called Niulang, married a weaving fairy called Zhinu, but Zhinu’s mother was a goddess, and forbade them to be together, and sent Zhinü back to heaven. And the mother of Zhinu uses a galaxy to separate Niulang and Zhinu, only on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar each year, Niulang and Zhinu can meet each other through a bridge built by a group of magpies.
How can you celebrate Chinese Valentine’s Day?
Taipei Valentine’s Day
Every year on Chinese Valentine’s Day, Taipei will hold a fireworks show called “Taipei Valentine’s Day” in an old city area of Taipei, Dadaocheng (大稻埕). Many people will go to the pier in Dadaocheng to watch these spectacular fireworks, but if you want to attend this event, it is recommended that you get there early to find the best spot to enjoy the fireworks.
Other ways of celebrating Qixi Festival are the same as any other Valentine’s Day, you can prepare chocolates and flowers or other gifts on this day to give to your lover or someone you like , they are all very romantic.
Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival)
Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as Moon Festival, this festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar (usually around mid-September). And this festival has become another good reason for families to get together besides Chinese New Year. There are many legends of the Mid-Autumn Festival, the most famous of which is Chang E(嫦娥) rushes to the Moon.
This legend simply said that Chang E’s husband, Hou Yi (后羿) is a divine archer, helped the world shoot down nine suns, so that now only one sun left. But later Hou Yi refined immortality medicine, wanting to live all the time, Chang E in order to stop Hou Yi, will eat all the medicine, the results of their own bodies will fly up, all the way to the moon above. Hou Yi later missed Chang’e too much, it will take a bunch of offerings to commemorate Chang’e at a regular time, to the modern day it has evolved into the familiar Mid-Autumn Festival.
Activities you can experience at the Mid-Autumn Festival
Outdoor barbecues & enjoy the moon
Barbecue is one of the most important events of the Mid-Autumn Festival. This day is the time for the whole family to get together. But in fact, Taiwan will have the custom of barbecue in the Mid-Autumn Festival is because of a barbecue sauce advertisement, which has evolved into the habit of Taiwanese people to barbecue at the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Taiwan’s classic barbecue sauce advertisement
You can also get together with friends while barbecuing and enjoying the moon, because on this day of the Mid-Autumn Festival will be the full moon.
Eating mooncake & Pomelo
The origin of eating moon cakes begins in ancient times, long time ago, in order to overthrow the rulers of the time, the rebel hid a note inside the mooncakes to let the people know that on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar they will overthrow the regime, until now, mooncake has become a symbol of reunion; in addition, pomelo means wanderer in Chinese, so eating pomelo at the Mid-Autumn Festival can also express homesickness and pray for peace.
In fact, there are many festivals in Taiwan, and no matter what they are, you are highly recommended to experience them in person! Perhaps you will find a unique part of Taiwan in these diverse festivals. We also will be releasing more articles to introduce more festivals in the future, so you can get to know them easily and quickly! But while enjoying these festivities, it is also important to comply with the relevant regulations on epidemic prevention to protect yourself and protect others.
Have you ever participated in any of the traditional Taiwanese festivals? Come and share your experience with us!