Often regarded as one of the most dangerous festivals in the world, the Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival is a unique spectacle that lights up the Taiwanese town of Yanshui each year. This festival, steeped in tradition and spiritual significance, combines the seemingly opposing elements of chaos and camaraderie into a display that leaves a lasting impression.
History and Significance
The Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival traces its origins back to the late 19th century, during a time when the town was suffering from a cholera epidemic. The local people turned to the God of War, Guan Gong, for divine intervention. It’s believed that Guan Gong requested a fireworks display to chase away the disease and the bad luck associated with it.
Held on the 14th and 15th days of the Lunar New Year (usually in February or March), the festival is characterized by the firing of bottle rockets from structures known as “beehives” due to their appearance. Participants and spectators wear helmets, gloves, and thick clothing to protect themselves from the high-flying rockets.
The highlight of the event is when the beehives are ignited, unleashing a swarm of fireworks that explode in all directions. People bravely rush towards the beehives, believing that being struck by the rockets brings good luck and wards off evil spirits. The air fills with smoke and sparks, creating an exhilarating atmosphere.
How to Get There Internationally
Yanshui District is located in Tainan City, Southern Taiwan.
By Air: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is the nearest international airport. Regular flights are available from many global cities. From the airport, you can take a high-speed train (HSR) to Tainan.
By Train: Taiwan’s HSR network connects Tainan to various parts of the country. From Tainan Station, Yanshui is about a 30-minute train ride away on the conventional rail system.
By Bus: Several bus companies run routes to Tainan from different cities. Once in Tainan, local buses or taxis can take you to Yanshui.
Participation in the Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival is not for the faint of heart, but it offers a unique opportunity to witness and partake in a tradition that perfectly embodies the Taiwanese spirit of unity, bravery, and reverence for the divine. Each rocket’s burst symbolizes the dispelling of misfortune and the welcoming of prosperity, casting a spectacular light on Taiwan’s rich cultural tapestry.