Yilan has a long history of traditional arts and culture, much of which originated from China. Due to the occupation of foreign powers, Yilan was also influenced by the Dutch, Spanish and Japanese. With the broad history, culture and festivals in Yilan, it then makes it interesting to spend an entire day in the city.
The popularity of Yilan festivals has always been a major drawing point for visitors of the city. Here are three of the most popular ones:
1. Jiaosi Hot Spring Festival – Jiaosi is famous for being rich in hot spring natural resources and for a bunch of leisure activities. With temperatures of about 50 degrees Celsius, these hot springs are relatively clear and odor-free. The Jiaosi Hot Spring Festival is commonly held during winter where Jiaosi welcomes the hearts and bodies of visitors to their hot pools of water. The goal of the festival is to further support and promote the hot springs of Jiaosi as well as health tourism with the many benefits that come with thermal water. Aside from that, a hot spring market, health tours, performances and a fireworks show is also experienced during this festival.
2. Yilan Green Expo – Today, people have pay more attention to environmental issues than ever before. Sustainable lifestyles are being exercised by many, especially when it comes to recycling and food choices. In order to further encourage such green lifestyles, the Yilan Government established the Yilan Green Exposition to be held every year of March to April. The Expo features a number of different themes and halls that all provide educational and recreational functions to visitors of all kinds. Themes vary from Ecology, Flowers, Fishing, Farming, Shrimp, Charcoal and many more. For visitors who have a serious concern for the environment, this event will absolutely be a good choice to visit.
3. Yilan International Children’s Folklore and Folkgame Festival (YICF) – This famed festival started in year 1996 and is known to have put Yilan on the map of Taiwan. Running from July to August, not only is this a performance festival but an exhibition as well with much focus given on playing games and having fun. The festival attracted more than 580,000 visitors in year 2010. Most of them came to Yilan to witness performances of folk dances from different countries and look at exhibitions of traditional toys and crafts from around the world.
The YICF is the first children’s event and the fourth in Asia to receive an accreditation from the International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folkarts (CIOFF). Such an accredited festival must be hosted for five straight years, must run for 5 or more days and must invite performance groups from at least five different counties in order to be recognized by the CIOFF. Tourists who remain kids at heart should surely not miss this fun and grand summer party.
Efforts to preserve the rich culture and festivals in Yilan are evident in their consistent regard for their customs and traditions. Yilan is entirely vibrant with a perfect mix of country, urban living and a rich traditional culture that continues to live on in the city.