Taiwanese Ghost Festival goes green with biodegradable lanterns

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In Taiwan, Xietian Temple will swap polystyrene for banana tree wood in its Ghost Festival floating lanterns.

The environmentally friendly lanterns, shaped like houses with paper walls and a red roof, will float down the Xiuguluan River. Polystyrene traditionally was used as the base, but switching to banana tree wood will make the lanterns entirely biodegradable.

The houses are meant to become residences for underworld inhabitants. Each lantern also features an incense stick meant to symbolically light the road for “wandering ghosts.”

Xietian Temple is a century-old temple in Yuli Township, Hualien County that is devoted to Guangong, the God of War.