Pingxi Old Street

Where wishes light up the night sky

Pingxi Old Street is a popular tourist destination in the outer region of New Taipei. Famous for its street market and (traditional Chinese lantern flying festival), Pingxi Old Street often draws large crowds who come for traditional Chinese lantern flying.

Originally Pingxi Old Street as a part of from the 1930’s before being converted into the popular tourist destination that it is today. It is characterised by its old-style of architecture and street market wrapped around the old Pingxi Line railway track.

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Traditional Chinese Lantern Flying

It is said that when the Han Chinese immigrated to Taiwan, their village was often under threat of attack from bandits and native aboriginals. To avoid these attacks the Han Chinese would hide in mountainous regions of Taiwan. After the threat passed, the remaining villagers would release red lanterns into the night sky to notify those hiding in the mountains that it was safe to return.

Traditional Chinese Sky Lantern in Pingxi

Nowadays lantern flying is used to express wishes of a bright future which is hoped to be answered by our ancestors. Lanterns come in all decorative colours and is often seen as a romantic gesture or as a proclamation of love.

Lantern Festival

Although celebrated in various towns and cities across Taiwan, Pingxi is especially well-renowned for its elaborate Lantern Festival. Also known as Yuanxiao Festival, it is celebrated to mark the end of the Lunar New Year and draws crowds in the thousands to witness the sky being decorated in ornate sky lanterns. 

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Families gather together to send lanterns into the sky and try to guess riddles written on other lanterns. Traditional food enjoyed during the festival is typically round glutinous rice balls (tāng yuán) which are filled with sweet red bean paste, sesame paste or peanut butter.

Lantern Flying

Due to the environmental effects of sky lanterns, Pingxi is the only formally sanctioned place in Taiwan to fly sky lanterns. Visitors are invited by local vendors to write their wishes on each side of the four-sided lanterns with provided calligraphy brushes. Vendors will offer to take photos of their customers as they release the lanterns into the sky.

Prices typically range between NT $200 – $400, with multi-coloured lanterns being more expensive. A variety of colours are available with each being symbolic of greater wealth, fame, fortune or marital happiness.

Releasing traditional Chinese sky lantern in Pingxi Old Street

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