There will be a “white” Christmas in Tainan, Taiwan this year. As part of an effort to promote tourism in Tainan (former home to our two youngest sons), the city is hosting a White Christmas Festival. The festival features a Christmas tree made entirely of salt – 40 tonnes of salt! – sitting atop more salt to make it appear like a snowy patch. Since the daytime temperatures in Tainan average in the mid-70s right now, a truly white Christmas is very unlikely. The event organizers used salt for the tree and snow effect because Tainan used to be the hub of salt production for Taiwan. Salt apparently is more than just a food enhancer for some Taiwanese, as explained by event organizer Chang Cheng-yuan:
“From a traditional perspective, salt is used to drive away evil spirits and misfortunes and is also a symbol of blessing,” Chang added.
Tainan was once home to the Qigu Salt Pans, which were the largest in Taiwan and produced about 60 percent of the country’s salt.
However, the 338-year history of salt production in Taiwan came to an end in 2002 after the salt fields closed, as the local salt industry was unable to compete with cheap imported salt, the director said.
Chang said visitors to the festival could enjoy a variety of salt products, including salt coffee, salt eggs and creative works of art made of salt, and could even make their own salt at an old salt field. – To read the full article in the Taipei Times, click here: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2011/12/23/2003521435