Taipei, Feb. 4 (CNA) The 2017 Taipei Lantern Festival opened Saturday with a theme of "West Side Story, Taipei Glory" borrowing from the title of an American musical to highlight the development of the western area of the city.
The main theme lantern in the Year of the Rooster, depicting an egg shaped creature, was lit in the Ximending area at 6 p.m. Saturday, kicking off the nine-day festival.
For the first time, the city is holding the annual lantern festival in the relatively old western neighborhood, where there are several historical sites and buildings, according to the Taipei City Government.
It is also the first time that the Taipei Lantern Festival has not been confined to a single venue. However, the displays are spread out along the North Gate (Beimen) to Zhongshan North Road, Section 1.
The city government said that part of the city was chosen as the venue in the hope that people would learn more about its glorious history, hence the theme "West Side Story, Taipei Glory," which partly references an American musical set in the upper West Side of New York City.
In addition to the main theme lantern display, the 2017 festival also includes a 3D Mapping Projection area (the light sculpture area), the Landscaping Creativity area (the red egg area), the Universiade Lantern Area (the magic animal egg area), the Blessing Lantern Area (the painted egg area), the Freestyle Creativity area (the egg yolk area), the Student Creativity Area (the egg white area), and the Friendly Exchange Area (the golden egg area).
In the egg yolk area, lighting technology has been adopted to show old historical buildings in the Xibenyuan Temple Square in the hope of reviving the area, the city government said.
In the light sculpture area around the North Gate and Zhongshan Hall, the Taipei City story from the 19th century to the present is being told by means of 3D light-sculpture animation.
The festival will also feature a street theater where groups such as Japan's World Order dancers will perform on the weekends.
The city government will also distribute 112,000 mini-rooster paper lanterns free of cost this weekend.
On Feb. 11, the West Side Carnival Parade will be held, led by an eight-meter tall float of the sea goddess Matsu, to encourage visitors to tour the area.
(By Liu Chien-pang and Frances Huang)