12 Best Places To Visit For Lantern Festivals

low-angle shot of paper lanterns

Witnessing the mesmerizing display of lantern festivals can be a truly magical experience, offering a unique blend of tradition, culture, and artistry. From Asia to Europe and beyond, these festivals illuminate the night skies with an array of vibrant colors and intricate designs that captivate spectators of all ages.

1. Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, Taiwan

Located in the Pingxi District of New Taipei City, the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is a remarkable event that allows attendees to release their wishes and prayers into the sky on traditional sky lanterns. The sight of thousands of illuminated lanterns soaring through the night is a sight to behold, creating a serene and enchanting atmosphere.

2. Yi Peng Lantern Festival, Thailand

Celebrated in the city of Chiang Mai, the Yi Peng Lantern Festival is a grand spectacle where thousands of lanterns are released into the sky, creating a breathtaking and magical display. The festival goes beyond just the visual aspect, incorporating stunning parades, traditional performances, and a sense of community and spirituality that enriches the overall experience.

3. Lantern Festival, China

As one of the oldest and most famous lantern festivals in the world, the Lantern Festival in China marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations with a display of intricately designed lanterns that light up the skies. This festival creates a magical ambiance steeped in centuries of tradition, making it a truly unforgettable and culturally significant event.

4. Tangled Lights Festival, Germany

Located in Berlin, the Tangled Lights Festival offers a unique twist by combining traditional lantern-making with modern artistic displays. Visitors can immerse themselves in a blend of classical lantern designs and contemporary light art installations, experiencing a harmonious fusion of past and present artistic expressions.

5. Seoul Lantern Festival, South Korea

Set along the Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul, the annual Seoul Lantern Festival showcases a stunning array of lanterns that blend traditional Korean motifs with modern artistic interpretations. In addition to the captivating lantern displays, the festival also features cultural performances and activities that offer a deeper insight into Korean heritage and creativity.

6. Lantern Floating Hawaii, USA

Taking place in Honolulu, the Lantern Floating Hawaii festival is a poignant and spiritual event that honors loved ones who have passed away. Participants release lanterns into the ocean, symbolizing the journey of souls to the afterlife, creating a reflective and emotional experience for both participants and spectators.

7. Loi Krathong Festival, Thailand

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Loi Krathong is celebrated across Thailand, with Bangkok offering one of the most spectacular displays. The festival involves the floating of krathongs (decorated baskets) on waterways, accompanied by illuminated lanterns lighting up the sky, creating a picturesque and serene atmosphere.

8. Lantern Festival, Taiwan

Held in Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei, the Lantern Festival offers a diverse range of lantern displays, from traditional styles to modern interpretations. The main event takes place at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, where visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of lantern art and witness the creative expressions of Taiwanese culture.

9. Fête des Lumières, France

Translated as the Festival of Lights, the Fête des Lumières in Lyon, France, transforms the city into a dazzling spectacle of light and creativity. The festival features stunning light installations, projections, and performances that illuminate the historic landmarks of Lyon, creating an immersive and visually enchanting experience for visitors.

10. Lantern Festival, Australia

Across various cities in Australia, such as Melbourne and Sydney, the Lantern Festival celebrates the cultural diversity of the country through a vibrant display of lanterns. Attendees can participate in lantern-making workshops, enjoy cultural performances, and savor delicious food from diverse cuisines, creating a rich tapestry of experiences that celebrate Australia’s multicultural heritage.

11. Ghent Light Festival, Belgium

Every three years, the magical Ghent Light Festival transforms the city’s streets and buildings into an enchanting canvas of light art installations. Visitors can leisurely stroll through illuminated pathways and squares, experiencing a captivating blend of contemporary and traditional lantern displays that showcase the intersection of art, culture, and innovation.

12. Lantern Festival, Japan

In Japan, the Lantern Festival is celebrated in various regions, with notable events in cities like Nagasaki and Aomori. These festivals exhibit a mix of traditional Japanese lanterns, such as paper chochin, alongside modern light sculptures that pay homage to the country’s rich cultural heritage, providing visitors with a glimpse into Japan’s artistic evolution and traditional craftsmanship.