Fully embrace the arrival of autumn this year by partaking in a beloved local tradition, modernized to show better regard for Mother Earth, and a magical outdoor festival that will have you wishing you never had to leaf.
Taiwan Observer was recently invited to a demo tour for a taste of the much-anticipated WISH 2019 Sustainable Sky Lantern Festival, hosted by MyTaiwanTour, to be held on the 12th of October in Pingxi. The sure-to-be unforgettable evening will include: a cool ride on an actual coal train, courtesy of the XPX Taiwan Coal Mine Heritage Park; a colorful market packed with delicious eats, an arts and crafts fair, and live music at that; a scrumptious farm-to-table feast in the forest perfect for Pinterest boards; and the launching of environmentally-friendly lanterns into the starry night sky.
Pingxi and its famous sky lanterns are an indispensable item on the to-do lists of visiting tourists for obvious reasons. According to one legend, the centuries-old practice arose from the customs of Minnan settlers who came to the coal mining town in the early 1820s. When the island was under Qing rule, villagers fled deep into the mountain wilderness to escape the roving bandits – especially ravenous in the months leading up to the winter solstice – who targeted ill-guarded towns for food. The hearty young men left to defend the village released waves of lanterns to indicate that it was safe to return home.
While undoubtedly a bewitching sight to behold, the 300,000 to 400,000 lanterns released in Pingxi each year pose a serious threat to the environment, inevitably leaving partially-burnt lanterns and other garbage strewn about in the countryside. Birds and other wildlife are also made to suffer, often becoming entangled in iron wire lantern frames that have failed to decompose.
WISH aims to celebrate the treasured tradition with an eco-friendly twist. The sustainable sky lanterns, designed and developed by Bank of Culture over two-and-a-half years, are entirely made out of paper, down to its frame, which is fashioned out of egg cartons and recycled paper pulp. You can actually watch your zero-waste lantern disintegrate in the sky, crumbling into a ball of flames and vanishing into thin air, which is pretty awesome in itself.
General Admission tickets and Forest VIP Passes are available for sale now. For more details, head over to WISH’s official website.
WISH 2019 Sustainable Sky Lantern Festival Promo Video: