Category

Festivals, History & Culture

Category

13 Tips for having a deeper Taiwan Temple experience

Taiwan has thousands of temples, ranging from large multi-story buildings bearing multiple shrines and countless deities to small single-shrine structures barely big enough to fit a single god. Taiwanese temples can be dedicated to Taoist, Buddhist or Confucian beliefs, and often times multiple faiths (and deities) coexist peacefully under one roof. Presenting a cacophony of fragrance, color and sound, a Taiwan temple visit can sometimes be a bit overwhelming to the uninitiated. Stephanie Huffman (a Masters Student in Asian Studies from NCCU who’s recently returned from both Xiao Liuqiu and Tainan on a series of extended Taiwan Temple Tours) shares a few handy pointers on things to look out for in order to better understand any temple in which you might find yourself. Stephanie starts with a simple suggestion, namely… 1. Pause before entering Many temples have a raised wooden lip at the front of the temple, and…

Retrieving Sky Lanterns in Pingxi

It would be a stretch to say that anyone was happy about the weather when the MyTaiwanTour team – along with a couple of friends from the local expat community – reached Pingxi for our lantern cleanup hike. Though it had merely been cool and overcast when we left Taipei, which some might call perfect hiking weather, when we crossed the mountain to Pingxi the rain was coming down pretty heavily. We weren’t hiking for fun, but as part of a project to assess the environmental impact of the practice of releasing burning sky lanterns in and around the town of Pingxi through direct action, specifically by taking a hike with a local man who regularly walks through the paths around the town locating and recycling the half-burned lanterns. (An issue that we wrote about in greater detail in this article: The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival: Color, Culture and Controversy) Donning…

Why you need to put the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival on your bucket list in 2018

Picture dozens of traditional Chinese lanterns, angels of flame and light, each bearing individual wishes skyward into the heavens. That’s Pingxi, a small town in Taiwan on most evenings of the year. Now imagine the experience multiplied a hundredfold or more, with accompanying fanfare, people and celebrations. That’s the Annual Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, celebrated at the end of Taiwan’s Lunar New Year’s Festival. Esteemed travel giant Fodors has named it “One of fifteen festivals to attend before you die”. Lonely Planet sings the festival’s praise on its website:  “Of all the ancient Chinese festivals, Pingxi’s Lantern Festival has best been re-imagined for the modern age, with spectacular light shows, live concerts and giant glowing mechanical lanterns.”  National Geographic, CNN, the Discovery Channel and many more have similarly ranked the festival highly on global must do festivals lists. R I K A ☻(@s2_rk)分享的貼文 於 PST 2017 年 2月 月 13 日…

Ten Festivals Worth Planning your Taiwan Holiday around (Part one)

From religious to secular, local to national, pious to irreverent, Taiwan is an island of festivals.Some are ancient, with origins stretching back in time into the days when history and legend begin to blur, while others have their origins in more modern events. Regardless of their origins, all Taiwanese festivals share a few commonalities: 1) Noise: The concept of Re Nao (hot noise) is important in Taiwan, and whether the affair is pious or irreverent, it’s a safe bet it’ll be noisy. (Bring earplugs!) 2) Food: There will be lots of it. Some festivals are even associated with particular dishes. (Bring an appetite!)   3) Crowds: Taiwanese festivals – even the religious ones – are public events that draw guests from near and far. All are welcome. (Bring yourself!) Finally, most Taiwanese festivals are based on a lunar calendar, making it kind of hard to pin them to a specific…

The ghosts were out in Keelung

We heard it before we saw it, the fireworks, chanting and singing. Before we’d even left the highway tunnel marking where the jungle-filled mountains between Taipei city abruptly becomes the bustling harbor city of Keelung we were being greeted by cacophony. It was well past sundown, but the festival was only starting to heat up as we walked the crowded sidewalks. Floats from various temples and neighborhood associations paraded through the streets. It was crowded despite the fact that we were still several blocks from the Keelung Miaokou Night Market (which is, even on a slow night, crowded by Western standards). My partner Stephanie and I were traveling with Chelsea Pearl, a blogger from San Francisco on assignment in Taiwan. MyTaiwanTour had arranged most of her tour around the island, but having not experienced the Keelung Ghost Festival before, Stephanie and I decided to tag along.    Some background…