When Tradition Goes Hi-tech

Photo Essay

Ping Xi, a village about 30km from Taipei, is historically known for sky lantern-flying rituals in Taiwan.

In this village, that can be traced back to the 16th century, sky lanterns were used to deliver messages during war or when it was invaded or attacked.

Traditional lanterns were originally used by soldiers and officers to protect candles and oil lamps from blowing out in the wind. In the last 30 to 40 years, they have been widely appreciated as a form of art.

Today, during Ping Xi’s 20th annual Sky Lantern Festival, a new generation of 25-year-olds is experimenting flying their lanterns, made entirely of paper, that are also environmentally friendly.

They used paper instead of iron wires and bamboo laths so that the material burns out completely before it hits the earth again in order to avoid causing a fire.

Hours later, thousands of flying lanterns are released into the sky by the visitors – a mix of locals and foreigners.

At this year’s Taiwan Lantern Festival, there is a wide variety of lanterns on display.

Traditional ones shaped as balls or buckets have now been converted into diverse postures of animals, figures, vehicles and nature scenery.

Huge art installations have also attracted people of all ages.

Candles and oil lamps, the lighting tools in the old days, have also been replaced by light bulbs, mercury-free batteries, neon lights, LED lights, laser shows and projection mappings.

This year’s event also brings a combination of sound shows with lanterns.

With the uses of virtual reality, visible light communication system, personal learning technology, digital control, optimal lighting system for plant growth, natural and artificial light sensors, visitors travel between traditional and modern lanterns, enjoying interactive and immersive experiences.

* Photo stories (Hover on pictures for captions.)


  • New Taipei City, TW
  • Taipei City, TW
  • Chiayi City, TW
  • Hsinchu City, TW
  • 2018