Part of the fun of travel is immersing yourself in the culture you are visiting. And if you and your family are traveling to Taiwan, chances are there is festival planned perfect for everyone to enjoy.
This month, Aug. 17 is the celebration of the Qixi Festival, or Chinese Valentine’s Day. Always held the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunar calendar, this festival celebrates the nearly 2,000-year-old legend of The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd. Though the festival is especially popular with couples, it might be fun to celebrate your family’s bonds, too.
The Moon Festival
Next month, the Moon Festival, one of the three most significant festivals of Chinese communities around the world, will be Sept. 24, the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. This festival, celebrated for more than 3,000 years, was originally named the Mid-Autumn Festival in celebration of a bountiful autumn harvest. The significance of the day is the moon’s round shape symbolizes family reunion, and legends of the festival are often told to children. This is the day to eat mooncakes, a traditional round Chinese pastry meant to symbolize the moon and the gathering of family.
Chinese New Year
Unlike here in the United States, the Chinese celebrate Lunar New Year for several days. Beginning on the first day of the first lunar month and ending on the 15th day of the first month, Chinese New Year in 2019 will be Feb. 5–19, in the Year of the Pig.
On the last day of Chinese New Year, also the first full moon day of the New Year, lantern festivals are held throughout the region. A few to consider are the Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival with lanterns and firecrackers in Tainan City; the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in New Taiepei City, during which you can write a wish on a lantern and let it go into the night sky; and the Bombing Lord Handan in Taitung during which firecrackers are set alight to increase “the fortune and blessings that will be bestowed upon them” by Lord Handan, the “God of Wealth.”
Dragon Boat Festival
Another family-friendly festival held throughout Taiwan is the Dragon Boat Festival, celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, or June 7, 2019. Along with Chinese New Year and the Moon Festival, this is the third of the three major festivals in Taiwan. With the longest history of all festivals and plenty of origin stories, elite racing teams come together to compete in the largest-scale dragon boat competition in Asia.