Lanterns of the Phoenix Gate

Phoenix Crown Gate, Taiwan Lantern Festival 2015
A big display at the Taiwan Lantern Festival 2015 in Taichung.

After a couple of days in Taipei 台北 I returned to Changhua City 彰化市 tonight. I was unable to book a regular train from the main station in Taipei for reasons that were unknown to me at the time so I splurged on the high speed rail, which takes all of 45 minutes to Taichung 台中. From there it’s only about 15 minutes to my place by local train—which means I can make it to Taipei in slightly more than an hour if I make all the right connections1.

It was obvious when I arrived at the high speed rail station in Wūrì 烏日 that something big was going on—the Taiwan Lantern Festival 2015 台灣燈會 (warning: auto-playing music). I soon found myself swept up in the human river flowing toward the vast open space next to the station where thousands of elaborate lanterns had been setup. I’ll admit that I have no particular interest in lanterns but the sheer scale of the event was impressive and some of the displays were pretty cool—particularly this one, which reads Fèngguānmén 鳳冠門, or Phoenix Crown Gate if I may hazard an educated guess.

  1. For a sense of scale: Taipei and Changhua are about 185 km apart—roughly the same distance as Ottawa and Montréal