TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Keelung Ghost Festival, a tradition observed for 168 years, will reach its climax on Thursday evening (August 11) with a parade and the release of water lanterns.
The festival is famous in Taiwan for its distinct traditional ceremonies and is the most anticipated event on the city’s event calendar.
The so-called water lanterns are actually colorful and elaborate works of paper art that look like splendid old guest houses and invite the ghosts of the sea to come ashore to feast on the offerings that the townspeople have prepared for them.
Thursday evening, the night of the water lantern launch, the streets of downtown Keelung will be closed so people can enjoy the beautiful parade, which includes water lanterns and floats made by the 15 clan associations of the city as well as folk music groups.
After the parade, the water lanterns will be transported to Wanghai Lane (望海巷) near Badouzi Port (八斗子漁港) to be burned on the sea around 11 p.m.
Free shuttle buses will run between the rear building of Keelung City Hall, located at the intersection of Zhongzheng Road and Xin 2nd Road, and Section C of Bisha Fishing Port Parking Lot, which is near the water lantern launch site. CNA reported.
At the end of the lantern launching event, buses No. 2088 and 1579 will run at 11:30 p.m. to transport revelers from Wanghai Lane to Taipei.
The Keelung Ghost Festival was born out of a large number of unclaimed dead and bodies that washed up in Keelung due to numerous international wars and armed skirmishes between immigrants from southern China.
The people of Keelung believe it is important to heal and comfort the spirits of the many people who died in the tragic incidents, including foreigners. Therefore, the people of Keelung consider the Ghost Festival as important as the Lunar New Year.
(Facebook, Keelung Cultural Affairs Bureau video)
(Photo by Keelung City Government)
(Facebook, photo by Keelung Cultural Affairs Bureau)
(Taiwan News, photo by George Liao)