One of the more chaotic yet beautifully peaceful events I have ever been a part of. You are actually a part of a country’s tradition, filled with families and locals alike purchasing or bringing their own fire lanterns written with blessings and prayers for the coming year.
I planned this on the fly as a friend and I were finishing up a Bali trip. I knew about the Pingxi festival and always wanted to see the spirituality behind the festival itself so I took a quick one day itinerary to make this memory happen.
After settling in to the hotel, my friend and I Uber’d over to the nearest street foot market for some incredible food before beginning our journey over to the Pingxi district of Taipei. Because of the festival, the only feasible way to reach that specific area was by bus, so off we went. Be prepared to stand for duration of the hour long and windy bus ride if you are unlucky in finding a seat (as we were on the ride back).
However, once you reach Pingxi, you are immediately welcomed by a long stretch of stores and food stalls as well as crowds of people ready to participate in lighting and releasing their own fire lanterns. I was so excited and couldn’t wait much longer, so my friend and I immediately purchase a few lanterns and sit down to begin writing our wishes and prayers for the upcoming year.
Important note – if you want to be a part of the MAIN group release of the fire lanterns where a huge circle all releases theirs at once, you need to register in advance. Make sure you find someone that speaks Mandarin in order for you to sign up properly. Otherwise you will end up like us, releasing a bunch of lanterns on various streets and such with other families and groups (which was still immensely memorable).
There was such a beauty in this event. So much joy and love that radiates from the groups of people that light the fire lanterns and release them together. Pure love, hope and happiness. A bucket list activity I will remember for life.