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Chinese Lantern Festival

 

Nighttime at the Chinese Lantern Festival in downtown Hsinchu, ca. March 1959.

The location could be in front of a store on a sidewalk that runs underneath the second story of most buildings.  On the left are several florescent tube lights glowing blue-white.  Several gilded lanterns with tassels hang from left to right.  One of the lanterns, a little right of center, depicts a golden dragon with purple markings and golden legs and claws; can you pick it out? 

The significant military installation in the Hsinchu area was the Chinese Air Force Base, which is no doubt why there are   CAF airmen in the crowd.  The air base was home to F-86 Sabre jets and T-33 Shooting Star jet trainers.

Downtown, the same night, March 1959.

Roy’s sons, Bruce and Brian bought the biggest lantern they could find, held here by Brian, a red cellophane on bamboo frame Chinese Navy warship sporting one big cardboard tube gun.  It was a cold night, but notice how lightly dressed some of the Hsinchu children are.  Juju Wang says some are Chinese, probably of parents who fled the mainland ten years earlier.  Notice the sores on the leg of the girl and the faces of the two boys on the right—such sores were a common sight on children during the 1950’s.

Downtown, the same night, March 1959.

The street air is hazy from chains of firecrackers exploding nearby.  On the left is a man who paraded about opening and closing his clamshells, an unfortunate role for him because some prankster tossed a lit firecracker which exploded inside the shells just as they were closed.

Downtown, same night.

Young ladies and young children.

Downtown, same night, March 1959.

Someone is taking advantage of the festival to do some business.  There is a stack of NT $1.00 notes on the table just next to the white bowl.  The man on the right, leaning over in grey sweater and blue slacks is a Chinese medicine man or folk doctor of sorts.  The woman holding a gong and mallet could be his wife or family doing her part in attracting some business.  

Juju Wang speculated that the business is related to Chinese Medicine because of the certificates displayed on the table.

The certificate may be something to legitimize this little stand.  Nowadays you can still find similar stands in and around night markets around Taiwan selling these services.  There is also a very lucrative underground Chinese medicine market advertised on some local pirate radio stations,

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