Festivals and Events in Taipei
Find out about the main festivals, events and trade shows held in Taipei...
Both traditional Chinese and Western ideology is reflected in Taiwanese culture and several major events and festivals are celebrated from each. Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year), the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival are the three main traditional Chinese festivals celebrated in Taiwan. However, the Western New Year and Christmas festivities have become more popular in recent decades.
Traditional Chinese Festivals
Chinese New Year
This is the most important festival in traditional Chinese culture. The festivities last for a month and include several days' public holiday. It is celebrated on the first day of the new lunar cycle and marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
Families gather together on New Year's Eve to thank their ancestors and the gods for their blessing and protection in the past year. Parents give their children money in a hongbao, which is a small red envelope. Food is an important part of the festival, and families often prepare a reunion dinner with dumplings, longevity noodles and fish. Fireworks are very popular and can be seen and heard across the country, especially on Chuxi or New Year's Eve. One of the biggest events of the Lunar New Year Festival is the traditional animated dragon and lion dance parade.
Due to the number of people travelling home to be with family at this time, roads are extremely congested and airports, train stations and bus terminals are all very busy. Reservations for tickets need to be made well in advance.
The Lantern Festival (Shang Yuan Festival) takes place on the fifteenth day of the Lunar New Year (the first full moon of the Chinese New Year celebrations) and it officially marks the end of the Lunar New Year celebrations. On the night of the festival decorative lanterns depicting traditional stories and themes are carried by children though the streets.
The Taipei City Government holds an annual Lantern Festival each year with events, displays and competitions taking place throughout the city over a ten-day period. The centrepiece of the festival is the giant lantern representing the Chinese astrological animal for the New Year, and the spectacle attracts millions of visitors each year.
The small township of Pingxi in the northeast of Taipei County plays host to the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival. It attracts thousands of visitors who congregate to release lanterns, with their wishes for the following year written on them, into the sky.
Dragon Boat Festival
This festival traditionally takes place on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, and has its origins in the story of the ancient poet Qu Yuan. The most important features are Dragon Boat racing (in a traditional boat rowed by a team) and the eating of zongzi, a sticky dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves.
- For information about the Dragon Boat Festival from Taipei City Council: Click here
Also known as the Moon Festival, this takes place on the on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar and celebrates the moon in its biggest and brightest phase. Mooncakes (small round cakes traditionally made of red bean and egg) are eaten at this time, and signify unity and a cycle completed. Barbecues have become a popular way to celebrate this festival and families gather to eat, talk, and sit up late into the night watching the moon. Lanterns are hung around the house and sky lanterns are released.
Taiwan National Day
Also known as "Double Tenth Day" as it is held on 10 October, this festival commemorates the start of the Wuchang Uprising in 1911 that led to the overthrow of the Qing dynasty. Celebrations in Taipei include a military parade in front of the Presidential Office Building, public performances and firework displays.
The Western New Year, celebrated on 1 January, is becoming more popular and is playing an increasingly important role in Taiwan. The main event in Taipei is the live concert in front of the Taipei City Government building and the fireworks at the Taipei 101 building on New Year's Eve.
Christmas is not a public holiday in Taiwan, although it is celebrated. Hundreds of thousands of people gather in front of Taipei City Hall for the annual countdown and fireworks display on Christmas Eve, and other celebrations are held throughout the city.
International Trade Fairs
Taipei International Cycle Show: Held annually in March at the Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC), this showcases innovations in the cycling world and hosts events and seminars.
Computex Taipei: This is the one of the largest exhibitions for the IT industry in the world. Held annually in early June at the Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC).
Taipei International Travel Fair: One of the largest travel fairs in Asia, this event showcases the latest trends and developments in the field of tourism. Held annually in October at the World Trade Center (TWTC).