Everywhere you turn, you are met with cacophonous Chinese orchestra music played by ensembles of plucked and bowed stringed instruments, flutes, and various cymbals, gongs, and drums. There are the sprightly dragon and lion dances. Red-color paper-cuts, couplets, vibrantly decorated paper firecrackers. Traditional markets are awash with shoppers waiting to pick up food items. Revelers literally paint the town red in February.

Chinese New Year’s Eve.

Homecoming. Courtesy Calls on New Year’s Day The Spring Festival turns the bustling city of Taipei into a ghost town for just a few days. A blissful silence descends upon the city; the streets become relatively deserted. It is the Chinese New Year’s Eve, a time for a nationwide homecoming. The worker bees in Taipei City return to their homes, enjoying good times, hearty meals, and catching up on the latest gossip with their loved ones. This is the time for the family, for reunion. Revelers lope around town in groups of family to call on long-lost friends, updating each other of where they are in life. The Spring Festival belongs to friends. The Spring Festival belongs to homecomings.

The Lantern Festival.

The Celebration. Beehive Fireworks Festival The Lantern Festival concludes the spring festivities. Every year in Taiwan, cities across the island host their own celebrations to mark the lantern festival that underline what the region has to offer. High-tech audio/visual effects are now integrated into these celebrations to spice up the party. The centerpiece lantern, styled after the animal of the year, would be given special lighting treatment that evokes a Las Vegas performance. The other bright spot of the Lantern Festival is the beehive rockets staged in Yanshui, Tainan. The beehive firecrackers started out as a pray-for-blessing ritual. Once a year, the town of Yanshui finds a real recipe to get noticed. In calling on the gods to come take notice of you, the town launches a bombard of fireworks, drawing both the attention of the deities and thrill-seekers, who don themselves with the thickest clothing possible, heavy helmets with all the cracks and creaks sealed up safely, and gladly suffer the blitz of tens of thousands of fireworks pointing at them. Solving the riddles on the lanterns also offers quite a treat: the riddles embody the beauty and essence of Chinese culture and language.

Get into the mood of the Chinese New Year. A quintessential spring carnival, Taiwan style.

(Photo Credit toMartin Chen,CC by 2.0)