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					              2008 TAIWAN LANTERN FESTIVAL
             TAINAN SOLAR CITY, SOLAR PARK
                                   TAINAN
                                Ezra Peranginangin
                                    PA8967015
                       Insitute of Creative Industry Design
                        National Cheng Kung University
                           Visiting Date : 1 March 2008

                                     Abstract

        Lantern Festival is the first fiesta of Chinese culture every first month of
the Chinese year. This year rat is the symbol of the festival, according to Chinese
Lunar Calendar when 2008 is the “Year of Earth Rat”. All Chinese community
celebrates it all over the country. The lantern itself develops creatively from
traditional into modern style, e.g. using laser beside lamp and candles. Several
legends explain the origin of the lantern festival, such as based on the story of
Sun Dynasty, Han Dynasty, and Taoism. All of the legend describe how
importance of the festival, not just for happiness, but also for family reunion. In
addition, the festival also become the moment for lover as poem wrote by Sheng
Cha Zi, called Ouyang Xiu. Lantern Festival in Taiwan held in several area from
Northern until Southern part of Taiwan. In Southern part of Taiwan, the fiesta
holds in Solar City, Tainan County. Organized by The Tourism Bureau, the fiesta
attracts crowds to fuel the park, while dancing and drumming competed with
the fireworks.

                   摘要
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 些 說 釋 宵 的 源 部 是 宋 、 朝 道 相 , 們 說 宵 的 要
有 傳 解 元 節 來 ,大 份 跟 朝 漢 和 教 關 它 述 元 節 重
 , 只 提 籠 已 其 家 的 聚 有 別 意 , 此 外 代 陽 曾
性 不 是 燈 而 ,尤 對 庭 團 更 特 的 義 除 之 ,古 歐 修 在
 時 寫 首 獻 情 。
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台 的 宵 從 到 都 舉 活 ,今 台 南 的 動 觀 局 辦 地 設 台
 的 陽 , 活 吸 許 人 與 場 當 擠 蹈 聲 煙 也 樣 現 扮
縣 太 城 這 動 引 多 參 ,現 相 擁 ,舞 、鼓 和 火 同 在 場
 重 的 色
演 要 角 。
      1. Introduction

      Lantern is a mobile lamp to enlighten in a broad area. The simple
lantern is the candle lantern. Unfortunately it only provides a weak light
and easy to flicker or extinguish by the wind. Encountering this, the
candle covered by some material such as metal box or cylinder with glass
side panels and an opening or ventilated cover on top of it.




                               Figure 1. Type of Lantern



In China lantern is a well known artwork. Traditionally, the lanterns
were made from paper, jade and colored glass. Sometimes riddles were
written on them and let people guess then give price if they were
correctly guessed. In the present, riddles parties and lantern
competitions add to the festivities.
      The Chinese decorative lantern; to distinguish with ordinary
lantern; exists in a variety creative design. Some hang on the roof as a
lamp while others placed on above the ground. Hanging type of lantern
usually use as lamp or mobile light as figure 1 shows. On the other hand
the lantern places on the ground utilize as decorative element in the
garden. The lantern construction assembles in some elements, bamboo
or steel as a shaper and some decoration part such as paper or fabric as
a surface to cover the lamp or candle. The surface of the cover attracts
people to draw something on it such as Chinese or Japan word. And now
designer draws on it as different way exploring the aesthetic design of the
lantern. And this lantern style still use until now as decorative element
which the candle alter to electric lamp.

2. The Legend of Lantern Festival

      There are numerous theories about the origin of lantern shows. It's
possible that the original purpose was to honor the Buddha.
       The Lantern Festival is a Chinese Festival since Han            Dynasty
more than 2000 years ago. There are several stories explaining the origin
of Chinese Lantern Festival. First it is as the celebration of the kindness
of Emperor Jade for not destroying the town. Then the second story
about origin of the lantern festival is as the respect of the Emperor to the
Monks by put the lantern in the imperial palace and temples.
Lantern festival (元宵節/元宵) is regular festival in Chinese culture that
takes place in the 15th day of the first month of Lunar Year in the
Chinese calendar. In the early Tan       Dynasty (618-907AD) it mention as
Shang Yuan Festival (上元節) because of Taoism. Then in the late of Tan
dynasty it was called Yuan-Xiao         Festival. It was called Lantern Night
in the Sun      Dynasty (960-1297 A.D.) . Finally in the Ching Dynasty
(1644-1911 AD) it called Lantern Festival.
       According to legend the Emperor Jade from heaven gets angry at
town that killed his favorite goose. Then he decides to destroy the city by
storm of fire. However the good-hearted fairy warned the people in town
to light the city with lantern on the appointed day. When the day came,
the Emperor satisfied with what the townsfolk did. Then he decides not
to destroy the city.
       Another legend about the origin of Lantern Festival is when
Buddhism flourished in China (206 B.C.-A.D. 220), one emperor heard
that Buddhist monks would watch for sarira and light lanterns on the
15th day of the first lunar month to worship the Buddha. Sarira is a
Buddhist term for relics and it is kind of of pearl or crystal-like bead-
shaped that can find among the cremated ashes of Buddhist Spiritual
Masters. Then the emperor ordered that lanterns be lit in the imperial
palace and temples to show respect to the Buddha on this day. Since
then it has developed into a grand festival and has spread throughout
China.
       Based on the Taoism Shan-Yuan (             , first period of the year)
Festival is the birthday of the Heaven Officer who blesses human luck.
On the 15th lunar day of 7th lunar month is Chung-Yuan (               , middle
period of the year) Festival, which is the birthday of the Hell Officer who
has right to pardon ghosts. On this day, all the ghosts can leave hell to
human world for food. So the 7th lunar month is called Ghost Month.
The 15th lunar day of 10th lunar month is Xia-Yaun (              , last period
of the year) Festival. This day is the birthday of the Water Officer who
can rescue people in trouble.
       According to other legend it was a time to worship Taiyi, the God of
Heaven in ancient times. The belief was that the God of Heaven
controlled the fortune of the human world. He had the supreme power
inflict drought, storms, famine or epidemic upon human race.
Qinshihuang was the first emperor to order splendid ceremonies each
year to please Taiyi and would ask Taiyi to shower favorable weather and
good health to him and his people. Later, Emperor Wudi of the Han
Dynasty directed special attention to this event. In 104 BC, he
announced it as one of the most important celebrations and the
ceremony         that    would       last    throughout       the    night.
       Other interesting story attributes the creation to a homesick palace
maid named Yuanxiao. The girl told the Emperor that the God of Fire
would set fire to the city unless he was appeased with a scene of
burning. Accordingly, the Emperor ordered that firecrackers be set off
and bright red lanterns hung throughout the streets.
       Regarding those many legend this fiesta is still doing regularly by
bring lantern with different shape and color including the amazed
fireworks in the sky. In addition the lantern festival also reflects an
important custom symbolizing family unity and indispensable to the
day's festivities.

3. Lantern Festival

      Chinese Lantern Festival regularly happens in the first day of lunar
year. That day is the Chinese New Year as the first day of the lunar year.
Chinese calendar is different with Western. Chinese date changes
according to combination of solar and lunar calendars.




            Figure 2 Lanterns light the night (Nadia Ghattas/The Epoch Times)


      New Year Day is very important for Chinese people as the signs of
the new beginning and a time for festivities. On the New Year they
celebrate the love of the family by family gathering. It is a time for them
to bring offerings and pray for the peace. For Taiwanese, New Year is an
opportunity to begin the year on a colorful and happy high note. On the
other hand this time is also the beginning of the spring season in
Taiwan.
      Beside the light of the lantern, this event is also the moment for
family reunion and thanksgiving. All members of the families forget for a
while they daily activity and dine together at home celebrating the New
Year’s Eve (known as Chúxì (除夕)). Chu literally means "change" and xi means "Eve".
      The Lantern Fiesta is also a moment for lovers. In the past, it was
the one day of the year when a single girl could come out chaperoned
and be seen by eligible single men, and such a tradition implies a hint of
romance in the air during the Lantern Festival celebrations. Echoing the
delicate romantic atmosphere, the poet Ouyang Xiu of the Northern Song
Dynasty (960-1127) wrote a poem entitled Sheng Cha Zi, as follows:

                    The flower market was bright as day.
                   The moon had climbed the willow tops.
                       At twilight end he came my way.
                        At this year's Lantern Festival
                   Moonlight and lamplight shine no less.
                     I have not seen my last year's love.
                  Tears wet the sleeves of my Spring dress.

In that way, along with the lion dances and festive food that characterize
the Spring Festival, people find time on the following Lantern Festival or
Yuanxiao Festival not only for a spree but also for a little romance.
      Food must be served in all festival. A variety of traditional foods are
prepared in great quantities symbolizing wealth and abundance.
Dumplings are the most common food during the Fiesta. Varieties of
dumplings are prepared in the same method used hundreds of years ago.
Tang yuan, snowy white dumplings made of sticky rice flour with a
variety of fillings, including sweet black sesame paste, tangerine peel,
walnuts, meats, and vegetables. During lantern festival, eat tang yuan
symbolize family reunion and unity, important values of the celebration.
Their shape represents the full moon. Although people enjoy food in
Taiwan, it is said that more food is consumed on the day of the Lantern
Festival than on any other.




                               Figure 3. Yuenxiao
4. Why Rat?

      Chinese calendar is similar with ordinary calendar that western
people use. It introduced by Emperor Huang in 2600 BC. The emperor
establishes the first cycle of the zodiac. The same as Western calendar,
The Chinese Lunar Calendar is a yearly one, where the cycles of the
moon as the bases. Therefore the beginning of the year can fall
everywhere between late January and the middle of February. This year
(2008) it falls on 7 February. A complete cycle takes 60 years and is
made up of five cycles of 12 years each. The Chinese believe the animal
ruling the year in which a person is born.
      The Chinese Lunar Calendar names each of the twelve years after
an animal. Legend has it that the Lord Buddha summoned all the
animals to come to him before he departed from earth. Only twelve came
to bid him farewell and as a reward he named a year after each one in
the order they arrived. The rat managed to be the first to show. In the
East, the rat gets more respect than in the West. The rat in the East is
viewed as creative, hard working, enterprising, charming and
charismatic. This year is the "Year of the Earth Rat," which is predicted
to be a year of plenty and prosperity. And this year is the "Year of the
Earth Rat," which is predicted to be a year of plenty and prosperity.
                    Table 1. Twelve animal names in Chinese Calendar.
 Rat            1924     1936      1948       1960      1972       1984   1996   2008
 Ox             1925     1937      1949       1961      1973       1985   1997   2009
 Tiger          1926     1938      1950       1962      1974       1986   1998   2010
 Rabbit         1927     1939      1951       1963      1975       1987   1999   2011
 Dragon         1928     1940      1952       1964      1976       1988   2000   2012
 Snake          1929     1941      1953       1965      1977       1989   2001   2013
 Horse          1930     1942      1954       1966      1978       1990   2002   2014
 Sheep          1931     1943      1955       1967      1979       1991   2003   2015
 M onkey        1932     1944      1956       1968      1980       1992   2004   2016
 Rooster        1933     1945      1957       1969      1981       1993   2005   2017
 Dog            1934     1946      1958       1970      1982       1994   2006   2018
 Boar           1935     1947      1959       1971      1983       1995   2007   2019
1947 1959 1971 1983 19
      The main character in Lantern Festival was choosing according to
the current year’s animal symbol of the Chinese calendar. Certainly, the
current year's animal symbol of the Chinese calendar is most popular
subject. This animal symbol is used in the lantern design. People like to
design lantern using zodiac animals, historical figures, saint and gods of
Taoism or Buddhism. Along with the modern world it was develop into
using cartoon character, garden, Chinese temple, Chinese traditional
house, and Chinese everyday life traditionally. Using the computer
technology today, lantern designer can combine traditional aspect and
modern aspect into lantern design to create different movements, the
different colors of light and even using the laser light with special visual
and sound effects.




                    Figure 4. The Rat Zodiac (www.toronto-lime.com)




                           Figure 5. Chinese Zodiac Symbol




5. Taiwan Lantern Festival 2008 in Tainan Solar’s City

       The lantern festival is not only belongs to people in China. It also
celebrates in several countries in the world. Countries that celebrate the
lunar New Year include: Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Mauritania,
Vietnam (Tet), Indonesia, Mongolia (Tsagaan Sar), Thailand (not an
official holiday), Laos, and Brunei. Also cities across Australia , Canada,
and the United States have large Chinese New Year celebrations, making
it one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world.
       Lantern Festival in Taiwan began in the year 1990 by the Taiwan
Tourism Bureau. The purposes are to introduce local culture and to
bring the traditions of Taiwan onto the international stage and into the
modern age. Over the years, the festival has steadily grown to become
one of Taiwan's biggest and internationally best-known tourism events.
       In Taiwan, 2008 Lantern Festival is celebrated by holding lantern
festival in different area. In Pinghsi one will see candle-powered lanterns
gently floating into the sky, while in the Southern part of Taiwan one will
see a more vigorous celebration and more high-tech lanterns. In Taitung
there is the Bombing of the deity Hadan (the God of Fortune) with
exploding fireworks, rockets and drums played resoundingly in his
honor.
       The best part of the festival is a contest featuring decorative
lanterns. These lanterns feature images of birds, ferocious animals and
Chinese mythological figures. These lanterns are carried during the
festivities and are hung on local temples. Besides entertainment and
beautiful lanterns, another important part of the Lantern Festival is
eating small dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour known as
Yuanxiao or Tangyuan. Thus, the lantern festival swathed in Chinese
traditions and customs hopes for brightness for the coming year.
       In the southwestern part of Taiwan in Tainan, the festivities take
on more of a New Age look based on the name of the area, Tainan Solar’s
City in Solar Park . Sponsored by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, the main
theme lantern and the centerpiece is a huge light in the shape of a rat.
This zodiac animal of the year 2008 is illuminated by an elaborate light
and laser show.
       There are the reverberating, crackling sounds of the fireworks, with
smoke all around, and the beating of the drums and gongs. The fireworks
are aimed at the temples or the statues of the Buddha that are carried
out of the temples on men's shoulders. The men shake the statues to
scare evil spirits away, while temple guards are walking on high stilts
wearing amazing masks and colorful costumes.
       The guards' task is to protect the gods and guard the temple, with
some wearing ugly and scary masks. The costumes resemble the look of
warriors of the past. Temple guards show fierce faces in their duty to
ward of evil spirits and protect the Gods.
 Figure 6. Temple guards show fierce faces in their duty to protect gods (Nadia Ghattas/The Epoch
                                              Times)

      The whole city is lit by lanterns made by students and members of
various organizations and enterprises giving one the impression of
walking into a city of lights. Crowds fuelled the park, while dancing and
drumming competed with the fireworks to gain the audience's attention.
The rat centerpiece played musical tunes as it changed colors followed by
fireworks shot into the sky. The vibrations, the high spirit of the crowd,
the smells of food, and the sound of the drums all can raise one's spirit
high.
Organizer

Taiwan Lantern Festival 2008 organized by The Tourism Bureau under
the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, sponsored by
Chunghwa Telecom Co., Ltd.



Reference

1.    http://www.c-c-c.org
2.    http://www.gio.gov.tw
3.    http://en.epochtimes.com
4.    http://www.chinapost.com.tw
5.    http://cangzhou.china.com.cn
6.    http://www.chinese.new-year.co.uk
7.    http://www.therealtaiwan.com
8.    www.chineseart.com
9.    www.mycen.com.my
10.   ckkellymartin.blogspot.com
11.   www.chinapictures.org
12.   http://farm2.static.flickr.com
13.   www.toronto-lime.com
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