Taiwan: Firecrackers End Chinese New Year Celebrations

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From north to south, Taiwan celebrated the lantern festival with firecrackers blasting away on Sunday, to pray for good fortune in the upcoming year, and also mark the end of Chinese New Year celebrations.

Fishermen along the northern coast by Yehliu port walked on fire while carrying sedan chairs, then jumped into water in a temple festival to pray for safe journey at sea.

The festival attracted scores of tourists.

[Tourist]:
“It's very sacred and holy because this is a precious local cultural practice.”

In the eastern Taitung County, men volunteered to be showered by fireworks. The tradition is known as bombing Han Dan, and is considered as a stroke of good luck.

The custom involves dressing up as Han Dan, the god of wealth, and allowing people to throw firecrackers at you.

The participating men endure the pain to get rid of evil spirits and to change their luck for the year ahead.

This event is often dangerous without proper protection. Most participants cover themselves from head to toe with helmets, masks, gloves and heavy jackets.

Some even devised their own protection gear.

[Festival Participant]:
“This has good ventilation, and the front is taped to prevent sparks from getting into the eyes.”

33 people were wounded at this year's lantern festival site by fireworks that went off in the wrong directions.

The accident happened during a pyrotechnic show in Chiayi City.

Injured tourists were treated at local hospitals. Government officials later apologized and promised compensation.

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