Ping Xi, a village about 30km from Taipei, is historically known for sky lantern-flying rituals in Taiwan.
In the 16th century, sky lanterns were used to deliver messages during war or when a village was invaded or attacked.
Today, during Ping Xi’s 20th annual Sky Lantern Festival, a new generation of 25-year-olds is experimenting flying their paper lanterns that are also environmentally friendly.
The visitors – a mix of locals and foreigners – use paper instead of iron wires so that the material burns out completely before it hits the earth again, to avoid causing a fire.
Hours later, thousands of flying lanterns are released into the sky by the visitors.
The 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, lanterns have become art.
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Candles and oil lamps, the lighting tools in the old days, have also been replaced by light bulbs, mercury-free batteries, neon lights, LED lights, laser shows and projection mappings.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.