While my mother was visiting in 2012, I was looking for some tourist sights to show her. I decided to go to Pingxi since the Lantern festival was taking place at that time. Pingxi is famous for its paper lanterns but, although I had been there before, I had never actually seen a paper lantern, let alone flown one.
Pingxi is usually a laid-back town known for it slow lifestyle, but it is an extremely popular destination over Lantern festival. I opted to take a bus as trains turn into sardine cans at these times. The bus took about four hours to get there from
due to the heavy traffic (I don't recall exactly, but I think it took about an hour to ride there during off-peak times.) Taipei
|Old mine at Pingxi Train Station|
There’s a lot to see and explore around Pingxi. The aged narrow Pingxi Old Street around the train station is full of stores and vendors as well as well-preserved, historic buildings. The train only stops at the station every half an hour, so people can walk around on the train tracks and even release sky lanterns there.
Releasing sky lanterns is a traditional ceremony in
. Legend has it that the sky lantern (also known as the Kongming Lantern) was invented by Zhuge Liang (Kongming), during the Three Kingdoms era, to use as signals in warfare. Long ago, the villages in Pingxi were often attacked by bandits. Sky lanterns were used to signal that was safe for residents who took refuge elsewhere to return home. Thus, sky lanterns are also known as "safety lanterns" or "prayer lanterns." Sky lanterns have lived on to become one of Pingxi’s major attractions. Taiwan
|Prayers and wishes written on bamboo|
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