Your Moment of Zen: Scenes from Taiwan's Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Article by: Laura Mason|@masonlazarus

Fri March 23, 2018 | 14:30 PM

In the beginning of early March, Pingxi, Taiwan's Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival fills the night skies with a couple hundred thousand paper lanterns, which serenely float towards the heavens to join the full moon, as seen in the video above. Although the holiday is celebrated all across Asia, nowhere in the world is it more recognized than Pingxi, a remote mountain town an hour-long drive from Taipei.

The main activity is to buy a lantern, scribble your desires and ambitions on it, then send it into the heavens. The lanterns are made out of oiled rice paper, sheepskin, bamboo filaments, silk, or satin outfitted with a large candle at the bottom. As the lamps heat up, they take flight and linger in the air for as long as the flame still flickers. While many do launch their own individually, the collective launches start at 6:30 pm and happen three times an hour until 9:30 pm. At the main stage, hundreds of dreams skyrocket upward all at once. It’s breathtaking to see the pitch-dark firmament, uncorrupted by light pollution, suddenly turning crimson against a backdrop of jagged peaks. Not only did lanterns act as signaling devices in ancient Pingxi, but they also commemorate the official end of Chinese New Year. Their release symbolizes the shedding of outdated ways and the embracing of an optimistic and fortuitous future. When the luminous sensations touch down, it’s with great hope that one’s lofty aspirations can be brought to fruition in the upcoming year.

This is your Friday moment of zen.