Feb. 6 - Paper lanterns light up the sky in Taiwan as a symbol of good wishes and protection. Andrew Schmertz reports.
Thousands of glowing, paper lanterns lit up the sky in New Taipei City to help celebrate the year of the dragon. The annual lantern festival is especially auspicious this year because the dragon is considered a symbol of excellence and protection in traditional Taiwanese belief. Participants have high hopes for the year ahead. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) FESTIVAL PARTICIPANT, LEE WEN-CHAIO SAYING: "I wish I and the people I love, my family and friends, stay in peace and good health. And I wish for a salary increase, and to win the lottery." (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) FESTIVAL PARTICIPANT, CHEN GUO-BAO SAYING: "This is my first time here to release a sky lantern, I am very happy. It is a good feeling to see so many lanterns released into the sky." Taiwanese president Ma Ying-Jeou wrote "dragon in the sky offers protection to Taiwan." Others painted dragons on the lanterns before they were launched. According to Taiwanese history, the lanterns were first used in the Three Kingdoms era, around 200 AD, as a communications tool for the army. Then, they became a way for the people to send prayers to heaven. And today they offer a way for people celebrate their history and wish all good luck for the year ahead. Andrew Schmertz, Reuters