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Lunar New Year Lanterns in Tainan

新年快樂, 恭喜發財, and happy new year from Taiwan’s historic southern capital, Tainan 台南! I captured these lanterns at Pǔjìdiàn 普濟殿 one of the most reliably interesting temples in the city. There’s always something going on there: classical opera, traditional puppet shows, or a big pile of firecrackers going off all at once. Anything rènào 熱鬧 (literally “hot and noisy”; lively conditions meant to please the gods) can be found here.

Apart from the lanterns, many of which seemed to have been painted by schoolchildren, I was delighted to see people doing their best to cook up a Taiwanese new year’s delicacy: pèngtáng 椪糖, or honeycomb toffee. There is a bit of a trick to getting the toffee to rise and an old man was bouncing around from group to group and providing advice and encouragement, obviously delighted to be passing on old ways to a new generation. I would have shot some photos of all of this but I prefer not to intrude upon anyone’s enjoyment of the moment; here’s a video on YouTube instead.

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