The Lantern Festival marks the end of Lunar New Year celebrations on March 2, as people get together to appreciate the first full moon of the year. In Taiwan, local and international tourists alike gather in the scenic village of Pingxi to light up the sky with thousands of lanterns. The tradition was invented during China’s Three Kingdoms period (220-265 A.D.) by renowned military strategist Zhuge Liang, originally to send signals and transmit information during war times. Today, people use this spectacular occasion to send their prayers for an auspicious new year.

Taiwan's Magical Lantern Festival

Thousands gather in the rural village of Pingxi on the last day of Lunar New Year festivities.

The Lantern Festival marks the end of Lunar New Year celebrations on March 2, as people get together to appreciate the first full moon of the year. In Taiwan, local and international tourists alike gather in the scenic village of Pingxi to light up the sky with thousands of lanterns. The tradition was invented during China’s Three Kingdoms period (220-265 A.D.) by renowned military strategist Zhuge Liang, originally to send signals and transmit information during war times. Today, people use this spectacular occasion to send their prayers for an auspicious new year. Make It Yourself Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images Make It Yourself Tourists write wishes and vows on paper lanterns before lighting a flammable element attached to the insides. The lanterns will then float up like hot-air balloons. More Than Just Lanterns Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images More Than Just Lanterns Besides the spectacle of lantern release, the festival also features live concerts and light shows. Pictured: a group of performers prepare backstage before the festival starts. Prayers Get Political Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images Prayers Get Political Given its their complex political history and relation to China, Taiwanese are incredibly vocal about their political views. Here, a lantern is written with the message: “If the laws are sound, then the citizens are happy.” One Last Wish Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images One Last Wish Finally, as you watch the glowing sky, don't forget to repeat your wishes in your heart, and pray that your lantern doesn't crash down early or light itself on fire.