Tag Archives: Taiwan

Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival 2018

WHAT: THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS FIREWORK FESTIVAL
WHY: PYROTECHNIC BASED CELEBRATION
WHEN: THURSDAY 1st MARCH AND FRIDAY 2nd MARCH 2018
WHERE: YANSHUI DISTRICT, TAINAN, TAIWAN

Named as one of the most dangerous fireworks festivals in the world this even is certainly not for the faint-hearted. The Yanshui beehive fireworks festival runs alongside the lantern festival it is believed that it originates from the early 1800’s.

Sadly, the whole of Asia was deep in a Cholera pandemic for almost 20 years and the locals would pray and ask the Chinese god of war, Guan Gong, to visit the town to help them get rid of this terrible disease. To welcome the god, the locals added firecrackers to the lantern releases and following the offering, the disease subsided; and the town now continues this tradition to make sure that no harm returns to the village in the future.

Firecrackers have now been replaced by the beehives which can contain anything from a few to several hundred thousand fireworks and can cost tens of thousands of pounds, but to the locals, it just means that they will have masses of good luck for the coming year.

2013 Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival 鹽水蜂炮

After the lanterns are set alight and cover the night sky, palanquins each parade a holy figure around the town and the beehives follow shortly after having been strategically positioned every few yards along the parade route.

Inching through the towns and villages everyone huddles alongside the beehives marking every inch of where the parade has been. It may look as if the area has been invaded by aliens from another galaxy as the local’s don motorcycle helmets, non-flammable clothing, gloves, scarves making sure not to leave an inch of flesh exposed. Filled with both excitement and anticipation the last get into place before the siren wails to warn anyone with 2nd thoughts about partaking in the event.

Once lit the beehives go off within seconds like a swarm of bees the lights, flashes, bangs and screams fill the air and floor shooting in every direction. Bouncing from helmets, and other parts of the body some of the balconies surrounding the area throw fireworks from them going into the 1000’s of people in the crowds contributing to the mayhem happening below. If you look closely you may find a religious few that face the fireworks with only a loin cloth for protection. In a couple of minutes, the mayhem comes to a stop and every one them looks skyward for the epic fireworks display to bringing an end to the evening.

If you are thinking of going and participating in this event yourself there 1st night of the beehive festival is normally held for the locals and it’s the second night that tourist can attend.

2013 Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival 鹽水蜂炮

Don’t worry if you don’t have the appropriate clothing there are stalls and shops galore selling everything you need to cover yourself. Just remember not to duck if you can help it, the more that hits you the better the luck you will get in the forthcoming year.

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THE WORLDS MOST DANGEROUS FIREWORK FESTIVAL

WHAT: THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS FIREWORK FESTIVAL
WHY: PYROTECHNIC BASED CELEBRATION
WHEN: SUNDAY 21st FEBRUARY AND MONDAY 22nd FEBRUARY 2016
WHERE: YANSHUI DISTRICT, TAINAN, TAIWAN

As amble along in the Yanshui district of Tainan, in South-west Taiwan, on the 21st or 22nd of February this year, you may be forgiven for thinking you have somehow been transported to a distant planet, as strangely dressed people mill around. They are wearing everything from homemade space helmets, tin hats and motorcycle headgear throng around covered from head to foot in a mish-mash of protective clothing, scavenged from junkyards or thrift shops, thick gloves and fire-retardant scarves hiding the faces of the adrenalin filled well wishes.

2013 Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival 鹽水蜂炮

A raucous group of horn players strike up as statues of the Chinese god of war Guan Gong carried along in sedan chairs make their way through the crowds, behind the excited onlookers stand the “Bee hives”, standing four metres in height they are then wheeled into position. The bee hives, made entirely from pine, are actually launching stations for small rockets. Densely packed, some contain up to 600,000 tightly wound cardboard tubes with small directional sticks attached filled with black powder they whiz and dart around the crowds – being hit by one of these will, it is believed, bring you good luck.

Last year the two most popular bee hives built by Shen-Chi Chung and his family were modelled on the animated character; SpongeBob SquarePants and a huge pirate ship over eight metres in height, boasting around 45,000 rockets incorporated into the designs.

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Costing around £12,000 each and taking around a month to build there are certain rules that have to be followed, the most important of which is that any woman may work on the structures as long as they are not pregnant, and any men wanting to participate must pray to Guan Gong three years in a row before they are allowed to assist with the building of the bee hives.

The grand finale sees three huge structures the first two contain 400,000 rockets each the final larger assembly will launch 600,000 rockets.

The first night is more of a local affair where the second night is mainly for the tourists, visiting officials and those not wearing protective clothing have the option to stand behind a 20 x 50 metre wire mesh screen.

The festival started in the late 19th century to combat cholera and the plague, Yanshui at the time was a very important port due to its location on the then busy canal system, the diseases had ravaged the area for two decades until a shaman summoned the god Guan Gong to dispel the evil, the deity agreed to attend as long as there was fireworks, in reality the sulphur from the fireworks killed the cholera’s bacteria the loud noise scared away the rats carrying the plague saving the city.

The Festival Director; Lin Yi-Ren, remembers back when as a child they used to hold the rocket sticks, letting them blast off from their fingertips and run around without any protection at all.

Although Taiwan recently suffered an earthquake of 6.4 which stuck 17 miles north of Pingtung City, the festivals organisers say it will still go ahead.

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Taipei 101 New Year Fireworks 2013

Taipei 101 New Year Fireworks 2013

Fireworks in Taiwan: Taipei 101 New Year Fireworks 2013 

Some of you may be aware that we have just returned from China where we were sourcing new products for the 2013 season.

Over the years as you can imagine we have built up close personal relationships with some of the agents and factory personnel over the years to such a degree that a number of them came over to the UK in August to join in the family wedding celebrations.

Taipei 101 New Year Fireworks 2013

It is always a pleasure to see them again and this time, having arrived a couple of days into the New Year we were surprised to learn that our friend and colleague had actually visited Taiwan to see the fireworks from Tai Pei 101 which was the World’s tallest building from its erection in 2004 until January 2010 when the Burj Khalifa was opened in Dubai.

Taipei 101 New Year Fireworks 2013

Having friends in the industry does pay dividends when John, partner of one of our agents was given the opportunity to see first hand the work in progress. Launching from a 509-meter high building was never going to be an easy task but innovations in the creation of a computer ‘mock-up’ of the display showed how the anticipated display would be in reality. Having been fortunate enough to see both the computer-generated imagery and the real thing as filmed by John we have to say that the firers are true artists. The colours were truly spectacular looking at times like a giant Christmas Tree with the most graceful falling stars.

Groupe F really should be commended for their work as they also did the display for the Burg Khalifa in Dubai too.

A total of 22,0000 fireworks formed the display and as previously outlined, the Tai Pei 101 is very environmentally friendly and as a result of the carbon emissions being sent skywards, they will also turn off lighting on the building for 6-days following the event to save the equivalent of 7600kw of electricity.

Check out the video:

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