Theme of Fo Guang Shan’s 2019 New Year Festival of Light and Peace

The 2019 Fo Guang Shan New Year Festival of Light and Peace starts February 5th and ends March 6th. This month-long festival takes inspiration from Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s New Year Spring Couplet “Always Well-rounded and Auspicious,” and will feature various activities to help people gain peace and joy. At the start of the New Year, devotees and families are invited to visit Fo Guang Shan Monastery to pray and bring peace and fulfillment home.

Venerable Master Hsing Yun explains that among the 12 Zodiac signs, the pig symbolizes the perfect completion and the start of a cycle. It indicates a year full of luck and auspiciousness, filled with renewed hope.

In 1980, Fo Guang Shan Monastery began hosting the New Year Festival of Light and Peace. Over the past 39 years, the festival has featured varied displays of themed lanterns, exhibitions of flower arrangements and rock carvings, fireworks, Buddhist new year blessings, delicious snacks, and art exhibitions. It has become an important annual event.

This year, the Fo Guang Shan New Year Festival of Light and Peace features four main themes: “Buddhist New Year Blessings”, “A Heritage of Refinement”, “Incessant Festivities” and “Vegetarian Cuisine as You Please”. These activities are intended to fuse tradition with modern life; one can make a Light Offering, ring the Blessing Bell of Peace, marvel at the lantern displays, and sample delicious vegetarian cuisine. Download the new “Fo Guang GO” mobile phone APP and follow the Fo Guang novice monk as he guides you on a tour of the featured attractions of Fo Guang Shan. Buckle up for an adventure!

The Significance of the New Year Festival of Light and Peace

Every Chinese New Year, Fo Guang Shan hosts the New Year Festival of Light and Peace as well as the Light Offering Dharma Service, while its branch temples around the world host the latter, all in hopes of providing all the opportunity to light up their own light of compassion and wisdom. Fo Guang Shan’s founder, Venerable Master Hsing Yun explains that one should “Use wisdom to dignify one’s place of practice”. Fo Guang Shan’s New Year Festival of Light and Peace unifies the wisdom and strength of all its devotees, monastic community, and Buddhist College students to, using traditional lantern making techniques, create Peace Lanterns that radiate a sense of religious blessing. Festival goers may experience the peaceful and serene ambiance as they make light offerings.
Venerable Master also says, “Even though a person may lack material belongings, as long as one has compassion, and wisdom, one will lead a life of abundance.”

Buddhism’s light and peace lantern offering represents the light that provides energizing and illuminating warmth. Hence on the first day of the first lunar month of every year, we have peace lanterns, while for all other days, we have full moon lights. Some parents offer lanterns on their children’s behalf in the hope that they will be blessed with intelligence and loveliness. Some children offer lanterns on their parent’s behalf, praying that they will be blessed with health. Some people offer lanterns for themselves hoping for a better future. There are also those who offer lanterns for the wish of world peace and happiness for humanity.

The Venerable Master once said, ‘the Buddha is like the light that can overcome darkness, the light that can provide warmth, and the light that ripens. Similarly, the Buddha’s light can eliminate one’s afflictions of greed, anger and ignorance, which have inevitably darkened the mind. It can warm our hearts and bring about our success in lives and in our future; and fulfil our character and virtuous merits.’ Ultimately, through the offering of light, we wish to bring light and peace upon the world, so that nations may peacefully coexist, and all ethnicities live harmoniously together.

The Four Highlights

The month-long New Year Festival of Light and Peace offers a variety of activities for festival goers to kickstart start the new year. The four highlights are:

Buddhist New Year Blessings

Faith is the foundation for life. During the New Year Festival of Light and Peace, visit Fo Guang Shan Monastery and bless the new year with light offerings and the ringing of the Peace Bell. At times of distress, faith is the light that will lead us out of darkness and unease. Let the solemnity and tranquility of the temple soothe disturbed feelings and infuse you with positive energy to start the year.

One can also offer peace lanterns for oneself or on behalf of family members so that self and others will be blessed with health, peace, and happiness. One may attend the Light Offering Dharma Service, the New Year’s Homage to the Thousand Buddhas Dharma Service, and the Great Compassion Repentance Service. One may also find joy in taking a tour of the shrines and requesting Dharma words of wisdom.

A Heritage of Refinement

Venerable Master Hsing Yun reminds that money is not the only thing we should leave to our descendants. We should accumulate wisdom for ourselves and leave morality to our descendants. Worldly success is only temporary, while the strength of faith is everlasting. Consider education, morality, and faith as supplements to monetary inheritance. With such intangible gifts, descendants may enjoy the boundless wealth of happiness.

Bring the family along and join in the festivities. Collect Stamps at the various shrines with the Stamp Collection Card to bless the new year with the hopes that all will be “Always Well-rounded and Auspicious.”

Incessant Festivities

Every year Fo Guang Shan Monastery and it’s branch temples worldwide hosts the Light Offering Dharma Service, with the hopes of offering devotees the opportunity to light up their inner lamps of compassion and wisdom. Day or night, apart from offering lights, devotees may also enjoy the lantern displays, tour the shrines, participate in festive activities, and experience VR and AR technology.

During Chinese New Year, come and immerse oneself in the warm sea of endless lanterns, and experience the Dharma joy that comes with it. During the evenings, make your way to the Non-Duality Gate and enjoy the Legacy of Widsom Projection Mapping Show, or, make your way to the Buddha Museum to enjoy a fireworks display that is followed by a lantern parade along the Fo Guang Boulevard back to the Main Shrine where one may pray for a new year of good fortune, auspiciousness, and peace.

Vegetarian Cuisine as You Please

During the festive season, one may sample delicious vegetarian cuisine at the hundred or so food stalls at the Fo Guang Boulevard. Not only is the Boulevard a foodie’s paradise, it is also a great place to take a break from the festivities.

This year, one may enjoy the various culinary demonstrations such as dough figurine carving, sugar painting, glass sculpting, and participate in traditional children's games, such as pinball, balloon shooting games and surprise boxes, while enjoying traditional Chinese light snacks and drinks such as caramelized chestnuts, champion cakes, and ice cream. All in all, there is something for everyone.

Events Schedule

Notes for Visitors

1 Dangerous behavior that disturbs, violates or jeopardizes the safety of others, is strictly forbidden.

2 Shuttles connecting Fo Guang Shan Monastery and Buddha Museum are available for both the handicapped and seniors over the age of 65.

3 Free parking is available at the Information Tower Carpark, Incense Garden Carpark, and Tongling Community Carpark.

4 Wheelchairs are available for loan at the Fo Guang Shan Monastery Reception Center, Pilgrim’s Path and Information Tower, as well as the Front and Main Halls of the Buddha Museum, where strollers are also available for loan.

5 Smoking is prohibited. Alcohol, non-vegetarian foods, and betel nuts are not to enter the grounds. Pets (with the exception of guide dogs), bikes, dangerous objects, skateboards, roller skates, tricycles, and billboard leaflets are not allowed in the area. There are numerous recycling depots around the premises, please make use of them.

6 Paragliders, radio-controlled airplanes, kites or other flying objects are NOT allowed.

7 Unless with prior permission, photography and video recordings for commercial purposes are prohibited.

8 Lost property can be reported/submitted to the various Reception Centers.

9 Missing persons can be reported to Fo Guang Shan Monastery Reception Center, Buddha Museum Front Hall, and the various reception desks within the premises. Unfortunately, PA announcements are not available.

10 In the event of injury or serious illness, please contact the nearest staff to call for medical assistance.

Fo Guang Shan’s New Years Opening Times

Fo Guang Shan Monastery
2/5 ─ 3/6 Daily 08:00 ─ 22:00
Fo Guang Shan Dharma Gem Square
2/5 ─ 2/10 Daily 08:00 ─ 22:00
2/11 ─ 3/6 Daily 09:00 ─ 21:00
Fo Guang Shan Sutra Repository
2/5 ─ 2/10 Daily 08:00 ─ 22:00
2/11 ─ 3/6 Daily 08:30 ─ 20:00
Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum
2/4(Chinese New Year’s Eve) 09:00 ─ 13:00
2/5 ─ 2/10 Daily 08:00 ─ 22:00
2/11 ─ 2/19 Daily 09:00 ─ 21:00
2/20 ─ 3/6 Daily 09:00 ─ 20:00

Buddha Museum Main Hall Terms of Entry

1 For safety reasons please refrain from touching the glass, climbing the railings, and mounting the exhibits.

2 Please do not damage or take away any exhibits.

3 Please turn off the camera flash lights when taking pictures. Video recording is strictly prohibited.

By Public Transport

Public Transport

1 From Kaohsiung International Airport, take the Red Line of the Kaohsiung MRT to Zuoying High Speed Railway Station.

2 From Zuoying High Speed Railway Station, take either the Eda Bus 8501 (義大客運8501)or the HaFo Express (哈佛快線)

3 From the bus station in front of Kaohsiung Railway Station, take the direct Kaohsiung Bus 8010 (8010高雄客運)

4 From Fengshan Train Station, take the Dashu Bus (大樹祈福線)

5 From the Jiuqutang Railway Station, take a Kaohsiung Bus or taxi.

6 Summary of non-shuttle bus routes: Kaohsiung Bus routes 8009, 8010 and 8050/ Pingtung Bus 8260/ Dashu Bus (大樹祈福線)

By Car

Driving Directions

Southbound: National Hwy1 → National Hwy 8 (East bound) → National Hwy 3 (North bound) →National Hwy 10 (East bound) → Qishan/Dashu Interchange (turn right) → Provincial Hwy 21 → Fo Guang Shan Monastery.

Northbound: National → National Hwy 10 (East bound) → Qishan/Dashu Interchange (turn right) → Provincial Hwy 21 → Fo Guang Shan Monastery.