Lantern Festival celebrated on both sides of Straits

2022-02-16 China Daily Editor:Li Yan

Lantern Festival, which fell on Tuesday this year, is an important occasion for Chinese family reunions, and also an opportunity for people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits to share the celebrations.

At the 2022 Taipei Lantern Festival, an exhibition zone featured dazzling large lanterns from Shanghai, adorned with tigers and Shanghai's urban architecture, according to Xinhua News Agency.

At a lantern festival in Nantou, central Taiwan, lanterns from seven cities in Zhejiang province are being exhibited. The lanterns are decorated with depictions of scenic areas of Zhejiang, to help Taiwan residents experience the culture and scenery of the province.

On Jan 29, a joint ceremony was held via video link to light lanterns at a temple in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, and one in New Taipei City, Taiwan. At the Nanjing temple, an 8-meter-high lantern of the sea goddess Mazu, who is worshipped on both sides of the Straits, attracted many visitors.

As the COVID-19 epidemic curtailed cross-Straits travel this Spring Festival, online greetings have become popular on social media.

The hashtag "Spring Festival greetings across the Straits" on Sina Weibo had generated about 190 million reads as of Tuesday afternoon.

One widely circulated video moved many netizens. Fang Hanqi, 96, a renowned journalism scholar from the mainland wished a happy new year to Li Zhan, a Taiwan journalism scholar. Li is two years older than Fang and the pair are longtime friends.

"It's been years since we last met and you have been in my thoughts all along," Fang said in the video. He recalled Li's support for journalism education on the mainland. "The strong ties between the people on both sides are an objective reality," he said.

Li replied through his daughter that he hoped they could meet in person as they are both approaching 100.

Taiwan poet Fang Ming also recorded a video of him reciting Nostalgia, a popular poem by the late Yu Guangzhong, who was born in Nanjing and spent most of his life in Taiwan. "The motherland's culture, mountains and waters are in our minds," Fang said.

Many Taiwan businessmen and students who stayed on the mainland during the holiday also posted video greetings online for their relatives and friends on the island.

Cheng Po-yu, executive director of the Cross-Straits Youth Exchange Association in Beijing, spent Spring Festival on the mainland this year. He had Spring Festival eve dinner at a friend's home in Beijing and experienced local customs.

The 36-year-old from Taipei made a video to tell his parents and relatives about his life on the mainland and to wish them a happy year.

Because of the epidemic, people on both sides interact and communicate online, he said. "The two sides share many common things. These videos show the two sides are one family and we have the same festivals," he said.

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