My Obsession with Lanterns
If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you are probably aware of the fact that I have quite the obsession for certain things. Flowers are definitely high on the list, closely followed by dragons and sunsets. However, during this time of the year, I find that lanterns are ranked at the top of my list of things to see and photograph.
Maybe it is because there are newly hung lanterns everywhere – especially in front of temples to welcome the New Lunar Year. It could also very well be that there are lantern festivals happening all over the island now which are always quite the spectacle.
The Taiwan Lantern Festival is kicking off today in Taoyuan [about an hour’s drive from Taipei] and maybe I feel compelled to complete this post because this may be the first year in seventeen years that I won’t be able to check it out, which actually makes me a little sad. 😦
See, sometimes I forget that pregnancy has certain limitations [for those that missed the announcement, read here]. I can no longer spend countless hours wandering about. I get tired easily and have aches and pains where I never thought possible. My brain is finally coming to grips with the fact that it is not all about me now.
I am willing to do whatever it takes to keep the little bundle of joy safe inside. That is probably why a two hour drive to the lantern festival, followed by a night of exploring, and then a two hour drive home is not in my best interest at the moment.
And let’s not forget that I feel my photography is not up to par these days as I refuse to kneel down or bend a certain way or stand on something in order to frame what I believe to be a good shot. My husband has actually been my go-to guy for help when it comes to this.
So maybe this year, the lanterns around the Matzu Temple in Lukang, Taiwan will have to suffice.
However, I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that I get an extra boost of energy later this week or next week so I can attend the Taiwan Lantern Festival.
Matzu Temple, Lukang, Taiwan
Matzu Temple, located is Lukang [also spelling Lugang], Taiwan, is one of the oldest and most popular temples in Taiwan. It was originally built in 1725 and renovated in the 1920’s. Beautiful cravings, most showing their age, can be admired throughout the structure.
If you go to this temple during Chinese New Year, then you will know what I mean when I say it is popular, as Taiwanese worshippers flock to the temple to ‘bai bai’ [worship] for good luck and good fortune for the new year. I visited this temple on Chinese New Year’s Day a couple of years ago and captured the scene in the picture below. Needless to say, it is self-explanatory why I didn’t even attempt to enter the temple on that particular occasion.
However, what I love about the place is that during this time of the year new lanterns are hung to welcome the New Year. Temple celebrations are also in abundance and if you are lucky enough like I was, you can take in a lion dance or a warrior routine.
I had the chance to visit Lukang recently on a beautiful sunny day – a perfect day to photograph the new lanterns and capture the place on video. I just love how the lanterns cast a shadow on the ground below – just gorgeous!!
[Please note that I feel a little uncomfortable photographing/video-recording the alters and statues as well as the people while they worship, so that is why the video is lacking close-up shots.]
Hope you enjoy.
Oh, and a trip to Lukang isn’t complete without a couple of baozi from one of the famous stands in town.
And I treated myself to a Starbucks’ caramel frappunccino. I went from having a coffee a day to one every month or two, so boy, did this one ever taste good!
Is there anything that you are particularly fond of? Please let me know in the comment box below.
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Linking up with My Travel Monkey for #MondayEscapes