The following day after the magical night of the Sky Lantern Festival, we traveled back to Shifen Old Street to experience what it’s like in daylight, eat local street food, and try flying our own lantern.
Shifen Old Street was built to transport coal but now it’s become a popular tourist stop for both local and international visitors. Both sides of the railway are filled with quaint souvenir shops, street food, local products, restaurants and offerings to light your own sky lantern.
The price of the lantern varies depending on the size and colour. Ours cost NT$200 or around S$8.50 for 4 different colours (the more colours you choose, the more you pay). Interestingly, each colour represents a meaning (pink = love, family; red = fortune; yellow = money; and blue = hope). We’re in for the experience though so we just picked any colour combination and we’re happy.The store owners will help clip the lantern in a metal stand where you can write your wishes and dreams on the four sides of the lantern using a liquid ink and calligraphy brush. Once done, you can now carry the lantern to the railway and take the popular touristy shots. Thankfully, the photos are voluntarily taken by the store owners/assistants themselves, you won’t even need to ask.
Each lantern has a small candle in it, that when lit, makes the lantern glow and float. It’s like a mini hot air balloon and it was nice to see it slowly rising until it’s gone. If you’re curious what happens to the lanterns after, it will continue to ascend and stay up, and then fall down to the ground after the candle finishes burning. Oh NO, it won’t reach the heavens literally. But YES, I believe that the Lord grants the desire of our hearts according to His will. So keep dreamin’ friends. ;)
Nonetheless, it was a unique experience. The locals also make sure that fallen lanterns are cleaned up after.
We continued exploring the old street, bought postcards (it’s our couple tradition to send each other postcards from each country we visit together), and sampled street food. Not long after, it rained but it was still a beautiful day.
What do you think of Shifen Old Street?
Do you know any tradition that is similar to writing dreams on lantern?