[Picture: East Coast National Scenic Area Administration.]
Crowds gathered at prime spots around Taiwan to greet the first sun of 2018, while in Taipei and Taichung ceremonies were held to commemorate the founding of the Republic of China, which is the nominal ruler of the island nation.
In Taitung County, on the east coast, thousands gathered at Sanxiantai to watch the sunrise, but a veil of clouds led to many feeling disappointed, some of whom had stayed up all night in anticipation.
As the crowd dispersed, East Coast National Scenic Area administration and the Wilderness Protection Association led a group of more than 100 people on a beach clean-up that saw 45 kg of trash picked up.
Further south at Taimali, aboriginal dancers greeted the dawn; the clouds broke, and and the sun shined down on 200 people who braved the chilly early morning air to take part in a bikini fun run.
Patriotic Dawn Services
In the nation’s capital, President Tsai Ing-wen and Vice-President Chen Chien-jen were joined by gold medalists of last year’s Universiade, the national soccer team, and members of the armed forces in singing the national anthem at a flag raising ceremony marking the 107th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China, under whose constitution Taiwan is ruled.
Soon afterwards, the President sent her first Facebook message of the year, wishing the people of Taiwan a happy new year and happiness in 2018.
In Taichung, a New Year’s Day flag raising ceremony and performances drew an estimated crowd of 1,000 people. Mayor Lin Chia-lung led the public in singing the national anthem and promised that 2018 will see a successful flora expo, the opening of the Green line of the MRT, and improvement in air quality. “The blue sky and white clouds will be seen frequently,” the mayor said.