60+ Festivals in Taiwan: A Month-by-Month Guide

Dear reader: This article contains links to products and services that I may be compensated for, at no extra cost to you.

The Taiwanese calendar is dotted with myriad festivals and holidays, and participating in them may prove to be some of your most memorable Taiwan experiences.

Taiwan’s festivals include traditional and modern, ones originating in ancient China and the West, aboriginal festivals, farm & temple fairs, art and music festivals–in many ways, Taiwan has got the best of all worlds covered.

While some festivals in Taiwan have a fixed date on the Gregorian calendar, most are tied to the traditional Chinese calendar, often called the “lunar calendar”, although technically it is a lunisolar calendar.

Below I’m going to introduce dozens the best festivals in Taiwan, many of which I have personally attended. I hope this helps you decide when the best time to visit Taiwan is, and for planning your Taiwan trip.

To find the current year’s date for the festivals I mention below, I recommend using this lunar calendar converter.

Table of Contents

Full List of Top Taiwan Festivals

To keep things simple, the following Taiwan festivals are arranged roughly in the order they come every year on the Gregorian calendar.

Republic Day/New Year’s Day (Jan 1)

The first day of the calendar year is a national holiday in Taiwan. It commemorates the founding of the Republic of China (Taiwan’s official name) on January 1, 1912.

Many people mistakenly call another holiday on October 10 “Taiwan’s birthday”. Double-10 Day in fact celebrates the start of the rebellion that led to the founding of the ROC a few months later. However, Republic Day on January 1st is overshadowed by New Year’s Day and many people don’t even realize it is Republic Day, while 10/10 Day is publicly celebrated as Taiwan’s National Day.

See more information in my guide to visiting Taiwan in January.

Lunar (Chinese) New Year (Jan – Feb)

Lion and dragon dance at Grand Hyatt Taipei
Lion Dance at Grand Hyatt Hotel in Taipei

Lunar New Year (農曆新年), also commonly referred to in Taiwan as “Chinese New Year” or “Spring Festival” (春節) (even though it comes at the peak of winter in Taiwan), is the most important annual holiday in Taiwan, akin to Christmas in Western countries.

Lunar New Year celebrates the start of a new year on the lunar calendar, which is still commonly used in Taiwan for birthdays and traditional Taiwanese festivals. People celebrate by cleaning their homes, gathering with extended families for huge feasts, praying at the temple for a prosperous year, and giving red envelopes of cash to children. 

Lunar New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and the next four days are national holidays. Depending on when the weekends falls, this can result in 6-9 days off. Most students have a winter break of 2-3 weeks before the holiday begins.

Most shops, night markets, and restaurants close for the first few days of Lunar New Year and Taipei can feel like a ghost town. Highways also become clogged with traffic on certain days, and hotels can be fully booked. Make sure to plan where to stay well in advance.

Unlike some other Asian countries, there are few public events, such as dragon or lion parades, in Taiwan during CNY, but you’ll probably hear lots of fireworks and firecrackers. In the weeks leading up to New Year, Dihua Street and Nanmen Market in Taipei are bustling with preparations.

To plan a trip at this time, see my guide to Lunar New Year in Taiwan.  

Foguangshan New Year Festival of Light and Peace (Jan – Mar)

Lanterns at Foguangshan at night
Lanterns at Foguangshan Monastery in Kaoshsiung

During the Lunar New Year, Taiwan’s largest Buddhist Monastery, Foguanshan, hosts a beautiful festival of lights and lanterns.

Foguansgan is located in Kaohsiung City, the largest city in southern Taiwan. It has a large monastery section as well as the new Buddha Memorial Hall, with the largest Buddha statue in Taiwan.

The grounds are decorated and lit up for around one month beginning on Lunar New Year’s Day. They also usually set off fireworks on one of the nights. Entrance is free.

Taiwan Cherry Blossom Festival (late-Jan – Mar)

Tianyuan temple, where you can sometimes see cherry blossoms during Chinese New Year
Cherry blossoms at Tianyuan Temple in Danshui, New Taipei City

Beginning as early as late January in areas around Taipei and Sun Moon Lake, and lasting until as late as early April in Alishan, cherry blossoms take their turn blooming in various locations around Taiwan.

One of the best displays is at Tianyuan Temple in Danshui District, New Taipei City, one of the most recognizable temples in Taiwan. There an initial bloom usually takes place in February, then another type of cherry blossom blooms in March.

There are usually various activities and events held in association with the blooming of the cherry blossoms in Taiwan.

Taiwan Lantern Festival (15th Day of 1st Lunar Month, Feb – early-Mar)

Taipei Lantern Festival
Lanterns beside the Love River in Kaohsiung

One of the most awe-inspiring Taiwanese festivals is the Lantern Festival (yuan xiao jie or 元宵節).

The festival’s English name comes from the multitudes of traditional rice paper lanterns that are put on display or released into the sky. The Mandarin name comes from yuan xiao, which are small, sweet glutinous rice balls that are eaten on the day. These are also sometimes called tang yuan (湯圓), though there is a subtle different between tang yuan and yuan xiao.

To celebrate the Lantern Festival, every city in Taiwan usually has a display of gorgeously designed traditional lanterns (but often with modern themes, like robots, Spongebob Squarepants, etc.) They are usually put up starting around Lantern Festival and remain on display for a few weeks.

Besides each city’s display, a national event is held in a different major city each year. This event features a variety of performances, lantern displays, fireworks, laser shows, and usually one extremely large lantern representing that year’s Chinese zodiac animal.

I maintain a list of each city’s Lantern Festival for the coming year in my Taiwan Lunar New Year guide.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Release (Feb – early-Mar)

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, one of the top Taiwan February events
The Pingxi Mass Lantern Release, part of the Lantern Festival

One of the most iconic images of Taiwan is of thousands of sky lanterns (tian deng or 天燈) being simultaneously released into the sky during the Lantern Festival.

The Sky Lantern mass releases happen in Pingxi and/or Shifen, two tiny villages located in New Taipei City, the megacity that surrounds Taipei City. It can be reached by bus or on the small Pingxi train line.

The mass sky lantern releases usually take place on the two Saturdays closest to the Lantern Festival. A word of warning, though: these are extremely busy, crowded events, and it can take hours of waiting in lines to get to and from the event.

Besides the two main days, visitors like to write their wishes on the lanterns and release them into the sky at Shifen train station throughout the year. However, local hiking and environmental groups have repeatedly asserted that the lanterns are bad for the environment, get stuck in trees, and have parts that can’t decompose.

Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival (15th Day of 1st Lunar Month, Feb to early-Mar)

Yanshui Beehive Festival, one of the craziest things to do in Taiwan during Chinese New Year
I shot this while waiting to get pummelled by bottle rockets

On the same day as the Lantern Festival (the 15th day of the Lunar New Year), another much wilder festival takes place in Southern Taiwan.

The Yanshui Fireworks Festival (鹽水蜂炮) involves shooting tens of thousands of bottle rockets and fireworks not into the sky, but directly into crowds of willing participants. It is without a doubt one of the most dangerous festivals in the world.

The festival takes place in Yanshui district of Tainan City. It commemorates a cholera epidemic that affected the region in the late 1800s. To drive the evil spirits out, locals scared them off with fireworks. Today, it is considered good luck to get hit by one of these.

The fireworks shoot off horizontally from huge racks, some of which are circular (like beehives) and shoot off in all directions at once. Participants must wear full body protection and helmets, but injuries are still common.

Bombing of Master Handdan and Bombing the Dragon Festivals (15th Day of 1st Lunar Month, Feb to early-Mar)

Two more wild and dangerous festivals that happen on the same day (Lantern Festival, or the 15th day of the Lunar New Year) are the Bombing of Master Handan (炸寒單) and the Bombing of the Dragon (火旁龍) Festivals.

The former happens in Taitung City and involves tossing firecrackers at a half-naked volunteer. The latter takes places in Miaoli on the same day requires participants to throw firecrackers at a dragon.

If you haven’t gathered so far, Taiwanese people really like pyrotechnics!

You can read more about all these festivals in my guide to visiting Taiwan in February.

Kaohsiung Spring Arts Festival (Feb – July)

Every spring in Taiwan, Kaohsiung hosts the Kaohsiung Spring Arts Festival (高雄春天藝術節), which includes numerous exhibits, concerts, public art installations and more around the city.

Kaohsiung is known for its arts, including the best street art in Taiwan. Many art-related events are hosted at Pier-2 on the waterfront.

Megaport Music Festival

Megaport is one of the biggest indie rock and metal music festivals in Taiwan. It is held annually in Kaohsiung.

After not having a festival in 2020, Megaport went on again in 2021, headlined by CHTHONIC, whose frontman, Freddy Lim, is a member of the legislature in Taiwan.

Taipei Azalea Festival (mid-Mar to early-Apr)

The Azalea festival in Taipei

Pink azaleas are the official flower of Taipei City and they usually bloom from mid-March to early-April.

The city celebrates the event with a variety of cultural events, which usually includes a picnic concert and Da’An Forest Park, the city’s largest park and a popular spot to see the flowers.

See more information here.

Yuguang Island Art Festival (late-Mar – early Apr)

The Yuguang Island Art festival (漁光島藝術節) features artwork for local artists inspired by Yuguang Island (漁光島) off the coast of Anping District in Tainan City.

Guanyin’s Birthday (19th day of 2nd Lunar month, Mar – Apr)

Yuan Dao Guanyin Temple, Danshui, Taiwan
Yuandao Guanyin Temple, Danshui

The birthdays of various Chinese folk deities are cause for major celebration in Taiwan. These usually involve noisy street parades to begin and end at certain temples.

Guayin is the Goddess (or Bodhisattva) of Compassion, and she is very popular in Taiwan. Her birthday is celebrated at Longshan Temple (the most important of Taipei’s many temples) at other temples throughout Taiwan.

See more information about March events in Taiwan in my guide to spending March in Taiwan.

Eden Hill Music Festival (March – April)

A small but very intimate electronic music festival called Eden Hill Music Festival (伊甸高原戶外音樂節) usually takes place in March or April in Taiwan.

The festival usually takes place in a remote location in Nantou County. Follow the festival’s Facebook page for more details about this and other related events thoughout the year.

Calla Lily Festival (Mar – May)

Calla lilies on Yangmingshan
Calla lilies at Zhuzihu, Yangmingshan

Beautiful calla lilies grow in abundance in Yangmingshan National Park in Taipei from March to May.

At this time, thousands of tourists flock to the area, especially the village of Zhuzihu, to see or buy them.

Neimen Song Jiang Battle Array (late-Mar – early-Apr)

This unique festival called the Neimen Song Jiang Battle Array (高雄內門宋江陣) in Kaohsiung reenacts battles between early Chinese settles and local aboriginal tribes in a series of 18 parades. Performance troupes are beautifully painted and costumed, which will be especially appealing to photographers.

The event takes place in Neimen District of Kaohsiung City.

Treasure Hill Light Festival (late Mar – early-May)

Treasure Hill is an artists’ village located in a former military dependants’ village, where many retired KMT soldiers and their families still reside (for another interesting military dependants’ village, read about Rainbow Village in Taichung).

Every late March to early May, artists in the village install varies displays and 3D art installations related to light for the Treasure Hill Lights Festival (寶藏巖光節). There are also mass picnics and concerts on certain days.

See more information here.

Flying Fish Festival (Mar – Summer)

Performance by Toa tribe for Flying Fish Festival
Tao tribe performance

The Flying Fish Festival (飛魚季) is the most important annual event on remote Orchid Island (Lanyu or 蘭嶼) off the coast of Taitung in southeastern Taiwan. It is home to the Tao people, Taiwan’s most isolated aboriginal tribe.

The Flying Fish Festival honors one of the tribe’s staple sources of food. Each village usually has its own celebrations at different times, which involves carrying their gorgeous hand-carved canoes to the sea.

The Flying Fish Festival season is when the locals catch these fish, and it is common to see them hanging to dry on racks around the islands. When the season ends, the locals no longer catch the fish in order to let their numbers recover.

Tomb Sweeping Festival (Apr long weekend)

One of the most important traditional festivals in Taiwan with origins in China is Tomb Sweeping Festival (qing ming jie or 清明節).

At this time, Taiwanese families visit the graves of their ancestors to pray to them and maintain the gravesite or cremated remains, which are usually located in large funerary towers in the countryside.

Tomb Sweeping Festival, along with Children’s Day, always creates a 4-day long weekend, always the first weekend of April.

Find more information about April events in my guide to visiting Taiwan in April.

Spring Scream Music Festival (Apr long weekend)

Scream Scream, one of the best spring events in Taiwan
My wife and son at the now retired Spring Scream Music and Art Festival in Kenting

For many years, Spring Scream was associated with the early April long weekend. This was a 4-day arts and indie rock music festival that took place at Eluanbi, a lighthouse on the southern tip of Taiwan in Kenting National Park.

Because of the festival, Kenting became the go-to place in Taiwan to party and hit the beach for the April long weekend.

Other music festivals popped up in Kenting over the years, including the electronic Spring Wave and some smaller beach parties. In recent years, Spring Wave has been moved to Northern Taiwan.

Today, the original Spring Scream rock music festival no longer takes place. The local Pingtung county government has now replaced it with the free Taiwan Music Festival.

Even though Spring Scream is no longer, the spirit of it remains in Kenting on the April long weekend, and people still sometimes refer to all the April long weekend parties in Kenting collectively as “Spring Scream”.

Organik Music Festival (Apr)

The small (usualy less than 1000 people) and intimate Organik festival usually takes places in April on a remote beach in Hualien county.

The festival features electronic music such as house, techno, and ambient.

For more information about this and related events, see the festival’s Facebook page.

Urban Nomad Film Festival (Apr – May)

The Urban Nomad Film Festival is the largest indie film festival in Taiwan. It is held at various locations in Taipei, usually sometime in April and/or May.

The festival usually kicks off with a fun 3-day music festival. The music festival usually takes place at a great outdoor venue on Tiger Mountain in Taipei City.

Baosheng Emperor’s birthday (Apr – May)

Detailed artwork inside Bao An Temple Taipei
Bao An Temple, Taipei

On the 14th day of the 3rd Lunar Month, the Baosheng Emperor’s birthday is celebrated in a big way at Bao An Temple in Taipei City. There are also celebrations at other Baosheng Emperor temples in Taiwan such as Xingji Temple in Tainan.

The Baosheng Emperor (保生大帝) is the Taoist god of medicine, so people pray to him for good health.

The celebrations include a fire-walking ritual, exhibition of important objects, musical and dance performances, and of course, a noisy parade through the neighborhood.

Taichung International Matsu Festival (late Apr – early-May)

A traditional parade in Taiwan, one of the most popular events in Taiwan in mid-spring
The Matsu Pilgrimage in Central Taiwan

The annual Matsu Pilgrimage is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world for a goddess. Matsu is the goddess of fishermen and the sea, and she is wildly popular in Taiwan.

A huge pilgrimage is held to honor Matsu’s birthday on the 23rd day of the third lunar month. The 9-day pilgrimage begins and ends at Zhenlan Temple in Taichung. An important statue of the goddess is carried on a palanquin to numerous other temples in neighboring counties, passing millions of people along its route.

Anyone is welcome to join on the walk, or to participate in the large, noisy gathering at Zhenlan Temple at the start or end. All the events related to the pilgrimage are collectively referred to as the Taichung International Matsu Festival.

Hakka Tung Blossom Festival (Apr – mid-May)

A hand holding a tung blossom during the Hakka Tung Bloosom Festival in Taiwan

Tung Blossoms are a white flower whose petals fall to the ground like snow. For this reason, locals love taking photos of themselves standing under them.

Tung Blossoms are also associated with the Hakka people, who inhabit areas of New Taipei City, Hsinchu, and Miaoli, where the blossoms tend to be found.

For this reason, many Hakka communities hold various events to commemorate the flower season.

Penghu International Fireworks Festival (mid-Apr – late-June or July)

Fireworks being shot off from a bridge over a harbor in Penghu, for the Pengu Fireworks Festival

For several months, a large fireworks display is held twice a week in Penghu, an archipelago halfway between Taiwan and China in the Taiwan Strait.

The fireworks are set off in the lovely harbor by Xinying Rainbow Bridge, near Magong, the capital of Penghu.

One of the best ways to experience the fireworks is by SUP (stand-up paddleboard).

Fulong International Sand Sculpture Art Festival (Apr – Aug)

Fulong Sand Castle Festival, one of the best things to do in spring in Taiwan
My kids at the Fulong International Sand Sculpture and Art Festival

Every year for several months in spring and summer in Taiwan, an incredible display of huge sand sculptures and castles is maintained at Fulong Beach, probably the most popular of the many beaches in Northern Taiwan.

The festival is free, but there is a small admission fee for Fulong Beach. Fullon Hotel Fulong, which is right next to the beach, even has some sand sculptures inside its hallways during the festival.

Ear-Shooting Festival (May)

The Ear Shooting Festival is associated with the Bunun aboriginal tribe, the 4th largest in Taiwan, who live in Taitung county.

The Bunun tribe Ear-Shooting Festival (布農族射耳祭) is named after archery competitions in which Bunun tried to shoot the ear of a pig from far away. Today, visitors can try archery themselves, see beautiful Bunun weaving, and observe traditional Bunun song and dance performances.

See more information on visiting the Bunun Leisure Farm in my guide to the east coast of Taiwan.

Heartown Music Festival (early May)

One of the biggest metal events of the year is Heartown Music Festival (山海屯音樂節) in Taichung.

Earthfest Music Festival (usually in May and Sept)

Twice a year, an underground psy-trance music festival called Earthfest Revolutions is held in Taiwan, often in Miaoli or Puli, Nantou.

Expect non-stop thumping and crazy psychedelic stages.

Read about more May events in my guide to traveling to Taiwan in May.

Jinshan Fire Fishing Festival (May – July)

For a few months in early summer, fishermen in Jinshan District, New Taipei City, use sulphur fires to attract fish and catch them, billed as the Jinshan Fore Fishing Festival (金山磺火捕魚).

During the festival, boats can be arranged to photograph the unique fishing activity.

Taipei Film Festival (late June to early July)

The Taipei Film Festival is an awards festival focused on Taiwanese filmmakers. As of 2021, it is in its 23rd year.

The festival is usually held at Zhongshan Hall near Ximending in Taipei City.

Dragon Boat Festival (5th day of 5th Lunar Month, June)

Dragon boats lined up in a river for the dragon boat festival in Taiwan
Dragon boats on display

Another of the most important Taiwanese festivals originating in China is the Dragon Boat Festival (duan wu jie or 端午節). The festival usually results in a long weekend.

The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates Qu Yuan, a poet and minister from the Warring States Period in China who jumped into a river. To save him, people raced boats out to his body and through rice into the water to dissuade the fish from eating him.

Today, the festival is celebrated with boat races in rivers and other bodies of water across Taiwan. In Taipei the event takes place at Dajia Riverside Park, and anyone who is living in Taiwan and wants to can form a team and apply to take part.

Another important aspect of Dragon Boat Festival is the eating of rice dumplings (zongzi or 粽子), bundles of rice and other items that are steamed in bamboo leaves.

For information about other events in June, see my guide to June in Taiwan.

Xiahai City God Parade (13th day of 5th Lunar Month, June)

Xiahai City God birthday celebration in Dadaocheng, Taipei
Parade in Dadaocheng for Xiahai City God’s birthday.

One of the noisiest temple parades of the year in Taipei is the one devoted to the Xiahai City God, from the temple of the same name.

The tiny temple is located on Dihua Street in Dadaocheng District, which is often considered the oldest road in Taipei.

Taiwan International Mango Festival (June – July)

A bowl of mango shaved ice from Yongkang Street in Taipei

The main focus of this Tainan-based festival is, as the name suggests, mango. Tainan’s aiwen mangos reach their peak around summer solstice. The event includes a variety of activities aimed at attracting visitors to come to Tainan and taste its delicious mangos.

Taipei Children’s Arts Festival (July)

Keep your eyes peeled for a variety of events, exhibitions, and performances catered toward children. These are collectively referred to as the Taipei Children’s Arts Festival and include the Taipei Riverside Children’s Fun Carnival.

See here for more information on visiting Taipei with kids and traveling around Taiwan with kids.

Hohaiyan Rock Music Festival (July)

Every summer in July or sometimes August, the free Hohaiyan Rock Music Festival (貢寮國際海洋音樂祭) is held on Fulong Beach in Northern Taiwan.

The festival’s name comes from an aboriginal word that refers to the sound made by the waves and sea surrounding Taiwan.

Read about more July events in my July in Taiwan guide.

Taitung International Balloon Festival (July – Aug)

My kids watching the awesome display of hot air balloons, Luye highland, Taitung
My kids at the Taitung International Hot Air Balloon Festival

One of the most impressive festivals in Taiwan is the International Balloon Festival held in Luye, Taitung county every summer.

From the gorgeous Luye Highland, dozens of hot air balloons take off every morning and afternoon. Visitors can take a tethered ride or a full hot air balloon flight over the stunning East Rift Valley.

Many of the balloons are shaped like creatures, cartoon characters, and so on. Entrance to the plateau where the balloons take off is free.

Cigu Seafood Festival (July – Aug)

Cigu Salt Mountain Tainan
Cigu’s famous Salt Mountain in Tainan

Cigu District in Tainan City is well known for its former salt mining industry and seafood today. The Cigu Seafood Festival includes a variety of events and activities revolving around seafood.

Ami Harvest Festival (July – Sept)

Taiwanese aboriginals, aboriginal festival in Hualian, Taiwan
Taiwanese aboriginal at a Harvest Festival in Hualien

The Amis are Taiwan’s largest aboriginal tribe, inhabiting Hualien on the east coast. Every summer, they hold a series of festivals to show thanks to the gods and ask for a good harvest in the coming year.

Visitors are welcome to observe most events. There is usually a major, week-long event and several smaller ones.

Ghost Festival (Aug – Sept)

Zhupu Altar, where ghost month activites take place in taiwan in September
Zhupu Altar in Keelung, the most important temple related to the Ghost Festival

The 7th month of the Lunar Calendar is referred to as Ghost Month (zhong yuan jie or 中元節). It is a time when the spirits of the deceased are thought to return to the world of the living and need to be appeased through a variety of rituals.

Throughout the month, you’ll see tables of offerings on the streets in front of homes and businesses, and lots of burning of joss paper (“ghost money”).

The festival’s most important days are the first, last, and the 15th day of the month.

For more events in August, see my guide to August in Taiwan.

Qixi Festival (7th day of the 7th Lunar Month, Aug – Sept)

Often referred to as “Chinese Valentine’s Day”, Qixi (七夕節) is a traditional Chinese festival based on the romantic legend of Zhinü and Niulang, a weaver girl and cowherd.

While there are some traditional rituals to be done and foods to be eaten on Qixi, in Taiwan, its also an excuse to have a second Valentine’s date with a partner.

Taipei Fringe Festival (late Aug – early-Sept)

The Taipei Fringe Festival (台北藝穗節) is a two-week event that includes numerous street performances in various locations across Taipei. Some of the main performances require tickets.

Mid-Autumn Festival (15th day of 8th Lunar Month, Sept)

Moon Cakes, which are eaten during Moon Festival, one of the biggest Taiwan autumn events
Moon Cakes, a staple of the Moon Festival in Taiwan

The last major traditional Chinese festival of importance in Taiwan is the Mid-Autumn Festival (zhong qiu jie or 中秋節), which actually takes places at the very beginning of autumn in Taiwan (it often still feels like summer in September). Less commonly, it can take place in early October.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is also popularly called the Moon Festival, as it coincides with the full moon. On the long weekend of the Moon Festival, families across Taiwan have a barbecue on the street in front of their homes while watching the full moon.

If you are in Taiwan at this time, you can also expect to receive gifts of moon cakes (yue bing or 月餅), dense cakes filled with bean paste, nuts, and various other ingredients.

For more events in September, see my guide Taiwan in September.

Taipei Jazz Music Festival (Sept – Oct)

Held annually for over a decade, the Taipei Jazz Festival (臺北爵士音樂節) showcases the local and international jazz music scene. The main stage is in Da’an Forest Park, while other performances takes place around the city.

Confucius’ Birthday/Teachers’ Day (September 28)

Confucius Temple in Taipei in summer
Confucius Temple in Taipei

The birthday of the ancient sage Confucius is celebrated with cultural events at the Confucius temples across Taiwan. The main ones are in Taipei, Taichung, and Tainan.

The events usually take place in the early morning. For the Taipei Confucius Temple, the event is free but does require a ticket, which you can pick up in advance from the temple.

Nuit Blanche (first weekend of Oct)

Ever since 2016, Taipei has held an annual Nuit Blanche, and all-night art walk throughout the city.

The idea for Nuit Blanche goes back to the late 80s in Europe and has since spread all over the world.

National Day of Taiwan (October 10)

A Taiwan flag on a bridge in Taipei
Taiwan flags are seen everywhere around National Day

The National Day of Taiwan celebrates the beginning of the Wuchang Uprising in China in 1911, which eventually led to the creation of the Republic of China. The ROC later fled to Taiwan after the Chinese Civil War, which is why Taiwan is today officially still called the ROC.

Often incorrectly called “Taiwan’s birthday” by locals, 10/10 Day (or “Double Tenth Day”) is treated as Taiwan’s national day, so you’ll see Taiwanese flags everywhere, it’s a national day off, and a ceremony is held at the Presidential Palace in Taipei.

For more events in October, see my guide to traveling in October in Taiwan.

Hakka Yimin Festival (mid-Oct)

A Hakka boy wearing pink clothing at a Hakka Taipei event in October
Young Hakka boy at a Hakka Yimin festival

The Hakka Yimin Festival (客家義民祭) is a 2-day festival celebrating the cultural and historical roots of the Hakka people. The Hakka were a nomadic tribe originating in China who now compose 15-20% of the Taiwan population.

Various events and activities are held in Hakka communities around Taiwan, especially in Taipei, New Taipei, Hsinchu, Miaoli, and Kaohsiung.

As a word of warning, the event often features whole pigs skins stretched out and decorated. Here’s a detailed write up explaining the event and this practice.

Yunlin International Puppet Arts Festival (Oct)

Taiwanese puppets on display in the Yunlin International Puppet Arts Festival
Taiwanese puppets on display at the Yunlin Hand Puppet Museum

Seldom included on visitors’ Taiwan itinerary, Yunlin County in central Taiwan is famous for its traditional hand puppet culture.

The best way to experience this is at the Yunlin International Puppet Arts Festival (雲林國際偶戲節) at the Yunlin Hand Puppet Museum (雲林布袋戲館).

Kaohsiung Lion Dance Festival (Oct)

Lion dancing festival in Kaohsiung

Lion Dancing is an art form typically associated with Lunar New Year. In Kaohsiung City every year in October (or sometimes November), a major lion dancing competition is held with teams representing Taiwan, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

This is an indoor event that requires a ticket.

Wang Yeh Boat Burning Festival (Oct or Nov, once every 3 years)

Boat burning at Donggang, Pingtung, Taiwan
Burning a whole ship in Donggang

Once every three years, on the years of the Ox, Dragon, Goat and Dog, an entire wooden ship is burned overnight in the harbor town of Donggang in Pingtung county, southern Taiwan.

The burning is the culmination of the festival, which actually takes places over eight days and includes many different rituals.

The next boat burnings will take place in 2021 and 2024.

Beitou Hot Spring Museum Anniversary  (mid-Oct – mid-Nov)

Hot spring bath with decorations for the Beitou Hot Spring Festibval
The original hot spring bath inside the Beitou Hot Spring Museum

The hot spring season in Taiwan kicks off with a hot spring festival hosted by Beitou Hot Spring Museum in Taipei.

The festival includes various performances, exhibits, interactive activities, and deals on hot spring spas.

For my information, see my guide to Beitou Hot Spring.

Taipei Digital Arts Festival (late-Oct – early-Nov)

Every October or early November, Taipei hosts the Digital Arts Festival, with numerous displays and exhibits covering the digital arts.

Venues have included Red House Theater in Ximending, Bopiliao Historic Block in Wanhua, and Songshan Cultural and Creative Park.

Zooloween (late Oct)

While Halloween is not celebrated in any major way in Taiwan, one event for the kids is Zooloween, held at the Taipei City Zoo.

For more Halloween events in Taiwan, there is usually discussion and event sharing in the Taipei Parents Group.

The Saturday closest to Halloween usually has some wild night club and outdoor events, most notably Resurrected.

Taipei Pride Parade (last Saturday of Oct)

A gay pride Taiwan flag and gathering of people for the Taipei Pride Parade
Pride gathering in front of the Presidential Palace in Taipei

Taiwan’s Pride Parade is the largest in all of Asia. There are usually so many people that the parade splits into multiple routes, starting and ending in front of Taipei City Hall (or, in some years, the Presidential Palace).

Thanks to parades like these, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize equal marriage rights.

The parade is always held on the Saturday closest to Halloween. Get your most fabulous costume ready!

Road to Ultra Music Festival (Nov)

One of the biggest electronic music events of the year is Road to Ultra, held outdoors at Dajia Riverside Park every November.

Expect big names along the likes of Armin van Buuren. Tickets can be purchases here on Klook.

See here for more information about events in Taiwan in November.

Pas’ta’ai (full moon of 10th Lunar Month, Nov, once every two years)

Pasta'ai ceremony, Saisiyat aboriginal tribe, Taiwan
All-night Pasta’ai dance of the Saisiyat aboriginal tribe

Pas’ta’ai, the Ritual of the Short People, is the most important celebration of the Saisiyat aboriginal tribe. It is held once every two years (2022, 2024, etc.), switching between two locations in Hsinchu and Miaoli counties.

The festival honors a tribe of dark skinned short people that the Saisiyat learned from but killed off in a tribal feud. The event features a full night of traditional songs, dancing, and drinking millet wine.

Autumn Rose Exhibition & Shilin Residence Chrysanthemum Show (Nov – Dec)

In mid-November, a lovely rose exhibition is held at Xinsheng Park in Taipei.

In late November and early December, head to the Shilin Residence (the former residence of President Chiang Kai-Shek) in Shilin District, Taipei, to see a beautiful display of chrysanthemum flowers.

Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards (Nov – Dec)

Golden Horse is Taiwan’s most important film festival, equivalant to the academy awards. It has been running since 1962. Usually held in Taipei, in recent years it has been held in venues across Taiwan.

Qingshan King Birthday Parade (22nd day of 10th Lunar Month, late-Nov or Dec)

Inside Bangka Qingshan Temple in Taipei
Qingshan Temple in Wanhua District, which hosts a huge traditional parade in December

Yet another very loud traditional temple festival in Taipei honors the Qingshan King, from the temple which takes his name in Wanhua District.

Preparations last for two days before the main event, when a noisy parade tours the neighborhood.

Maolin Purple Butterfly Festival (Nov – Mar)

Butterfly at Butterfly Valley in Kaohsiung and Pingtung
Crow butterfly at Maolin National Scenic Area

Autumn is the start of the Purple Butterfly season in Maolin District, Kaohsiung. In the following months, millions of migratory butterflies will settle in the area, drawing major crowds.

Xinshe Flowe Festival (Nov ­– Dec)

Sea of flowers at Xinshe flower festival in Taichung
Sea of flowers at Xinshe Flower Festival in Taichung

One of the biggest annual flower festivals in Taiwan is the Xinshe Flower Festival, held un Xinshe District, Taichung every November to December.

Xinshe can easily be visited as a day trip from Taichung city center.

Taipei Marathon (Dec)

The largest marathon in Taiwan usually takes place in mid-December in Taipei. Up to 100,000 runners have participated at once is past years!

Hsinchu City God’s Birthday (29th day of 11th Lunar Month, Dec – Jan)

Of all the city god temples across Taiwan, the Cheng Huang (City God) Temple (新竹城隍廟) in Hsinchu is the most important. To celebrate his birthday, a huge temple fair is held on the eve and day of his birthday.

Christmasland (mid-Nov – early-Jan)

My kids seeing the Christmas lights in Banqiao, New Taipei City in December
My kids at Christmasland in Banqiao, New Taipei City

Taiwan’s most over-the-top Christmas event is the aptly named Christmasland, held at New Taipei City Hall Square in Banqiao District, New Taipei City.

For well over a month (they have to spread out the immense crowds), millions of lights fill the square, including tunnels of lights in the overpasses over adjacent roads. There’s also a stage with unnecessarily loud talks and performances.

The lights are usually on from around 5:30 p.m. to midnight. The last event was Disney themed.

See here for more information on Christmas events in Taiwan.

New Year’s Eve (December 31)

Fireworks display in Kaohsiung with a ferris wheel in the background
Fireworks display in Kaohsiung

The calendar New Year’s Eve is also celebrated in a big way in Taiwan. The most famous fireworks display is shot from the sides of Taipei 101, with hundreds of thousands of spectators in the streets below.

Most other major cities in Taiwan also have fireworks displays, often from large mall-slash-amusement parks like Lihpao Discover Land in Taichung and E-Da Theme Park in Kaohsiung. See more information in my guide to the best theme parks in Taiwan.

Well, that brings us to the end of this list of the best festivals in Taiwan. Surely I haven’t covered them all, so do let me know in the comments below if I’ve missed a good one!

Leave a Comment