Is there anything more ridiculously charming than the idea of painting on your own lantern, covering it full of your wishes and hopes and sending it off into the sky? I think not. And of course this would be a thing to do in Taiwan, where everything is charming and sweet. I went to New Taipei City intending to see Pingxi, a small city known for their annual lantern festival, but through a series of unfortunate events (notably sleeping through my train, getting on the wrong train, and so on), I only made it to Shifen, a town right next to it. Maybe Pingxi is completely different, I am not really sure, but from the pictures it seems like the same sort of deal. People paint their lantern on the side of the street, picking a different colors for different types of wishes. They light off the lanterns right on the train tracks surrounded by friends and strangers taking photos, and when the train is coming everyone rushes out of the way while they whistle and yell at you to get back. I wandered around taking photos of the whole thing, wish I had brought my tripod because moving balls of fire in the sky are not the easiest thing to capture.
Getting there is not the most fun thing in the world with a few train transfers, but I will without a doubt be back for the lantern festival. With big festivals in far off locales, it is sure to be a pain getting in and out on crowded trains. But the sights will be worth it, I am certain. I cannot wait.