This pig driving a banana is welcoming you to Lantern Festival!
The way it works is that different schools, groups, and even companies enter their lanterns in various categories, and at some point winners are chosen. This post has only still photos, but many of the lanterns were mechanized, having various moving parts, and sometimes even steam issuing forth.
Since this is Goat Year, many of the lanterns are goat themed, and this arrangement of two goats with the Taipei 101 Tower was one of the best.
As you leaf through these photos, note your favorites, and let me know at the end. It is a difficult choice; even these here were weeded out with difficulty from over five hundred photographs! (How could we ever have existed before digital cameras?)
The festival was spread out over a large park, as seen from one vantage point.
This one was looks like a slug with its tail in a bowl—perhaps a genie-like creature coming out? I saw many local people who seemed equally bewildered.
A set of horse lanterns was particularly finely made.
Pegasus, or at least some flying horse, was the centerpiece.
The makers couldn't resist adding this charming pony.
Although this traditional house is a larger complex, I'm sure you can identify all the same features as on the Chinese House Bank.
This sea creature tableau, composed of turtle, sea urchin, clam with pearl, crab, and adorable smiling shrimp, is supposedly made by an elementary school, but I somehow detect the hand of the art teacher.
This lantern does look like it was actually made by elementary school student, which to me gives it an extra charm. Although somewhat crude, it is still much better than I could do were I to try my own hand at it.
One problem with recent lantern festivals is the increased use of Christmas-type lights, which I feel is cheating. However, in this scene both types appear combined to good effect.
This tufted elephant is a very well crafted lantern.
Stunning is the only word that can describe this eagle on a rock.
Off to the circus, starting with this delightful carousel.
…a Ferris Wheel…
It is always a mystery whether clown figures are deliberately meant to be scary, or just come out that way. This huge clown’s head coming out of the ground is many times larger than the surrounding acrobat lanterns.
The reason that Taiwanese children behave is because their parents tell them that otherwise this giant clown lantern will come to get them!
It’s a little hard to see in the picture, but this tree lantern was a real tour de force.
A pumpkin coach right out of a fairytale.
Astonishing quality, both design and construction-wise, in these dancing elephants.
I always like to see lanterns depicting traditional Chinese scenes.
Every year there is a main lantern with the theme of the current zodiac animal. This metallic, twinkling goat on a mountain top was about five stories high. There were lights playing, music blaring, and the mountains grew and changed shape!
One problem with the giant goat lantern was the ultra-bright, moving yellow and purple lights at the base, which played over the crowds, blinding people and making photography difficult.
Here is one final overview picture of the Goat Year Lantern Festival. The creativity and quality of these huge lanterns (the average height was probably six to ten feet) is amazing, especially for something so ephemeral. It is sad to think of all these being dismantled next week.
Again, let me know your favorites, and if looking at these has given you any ideas, tell me what design of lantern you might submit for a future festival.
An elevated walkway made a convenient spot to take this photograph.