The culture and festivals in Taipei are very colorful. Taiwanese culture is influenced primarily by the Chinese and the Japanese cultures. The aborigines, Americans, and Europeans have also influenced the present Taiwanese culture to some extent. As such, there are a lot of interesting festivals that are celebrated in Taipei. If you want to experience more of the local culture, you can plan your trip to Taiwan’s capital during certain festival celebrations.
The Chinese Lantern Festival is one of the most awaited festivals in Taiwan. It is celebrated toward the end of the Chinese New Year, during the first full moon of the lunar year. People make lanterns and let them float up into the sky. The sight of hundreds of lanterns going up into the sky is worth visiting Taipei for.
There are many different versions of how the Lantern Festival started and what the lanterns mean. According to some people, the lanterns signify the relationship between the present life and the next. Others say that the festival coincides with the birth of Tianguan, the god of good fortune. Still others say that the practice started when an emperor from the Han Dynasty instructed the people to have light displays as a sign of respect to Buddha. Whatever its real roots are, one thing is certain: the Lantern Festival is one of the most important and most celebrated among the festivals in Taipei.
Another notable celebration unique to the culture and festivals in Taipei is the Tomb Sweeping Festival, also known as Qingming Jie. The Tomb Sweeping Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday that is an expression of ancestral worship. It is one of the oldest practices in the world, with its origin being estimated to go as far back as 2,500 years ago. The festival is celebrated on the fifth of April (Western calendar) each year.
According to old stories, Xuanzong from the Tang Dynasty was not very pleased with how much time and effort the people were pouring out just to pay their respect to their ancestors when they should be doing more productive things. Thus, the emperor declared that only one day was to be devoted to this activity, and that day became known as the Tomb Sweeping Day. From that time on, this day was spent for ancestral worship. At the same time, the family members of the dead clean their ancestors’ tombs and put everything in order.
The Dragon Boat Festival, also sometimes called the Dragon Festival, is celebrated on the 5th day of the lunar calendar’s 5th month. In the western calendar, it falls on the month of June. During the festival, ornately decorated dragon boats are taken to the rivers for a boat racing competition. This is also the time when the Taiwanese prepare zongzi, which is rice with meat filling wrapped in a bamboo leaf. Some zongzi have read bean paste as filling instead of meat.
The culture and festivals in Taipei show a lot about the history of the Taiwanese people. You can have a better understanding of the present day Taiwan by knowing more about these celebrations. Celebrations that are important to the culture and festivals in Taipei are worth looking into.