Tomorrow is the Lantern Festival, and one of the highlights of the festivities is the ever-popular Beehive Fireworks Festival in Yanshui, Tainan. It started with a bang at 8 in the morning outside Yanshui Martial Temple and continued all day. Originally the religious tradition was meant to protect the health of the community. This year prayers for relief from coronavirus are foremost in the Tainan mayor’s mind. A drone lifts a string of firecrackers into the sky, officially opening the Beehive Fireworks Festival in Yanshui.Citizens wear protective gear including helmets as they huddle by the firecracker stand to enjoy the barrage of explosions.They have to keep their arms pressed to their chests, and stand straight upright in the cloud of smoke and flashes. Children like these two brothers are enjoying the excitement too.After the first fireworks are over, the parade of the God Holy Emperor Guan on his sedan chair begins. He’ll be carried around the whole village, and firecrackers will go off everywhere he passes. This year there’s a special extra significance to the whole festival.Huang Wei-cherTainan mayorI pray we can drive away the coronavirus, wipe it out completely. And of course Holy Emperor Guan will protect all the city’s residents, and health and happiness will come to everyone in the country. And Taiwan will soon be free of the spread of the virus.This year there are 200 firecracker stands in the festival. The three main stands are themed lantern stands. Around 1.8 million separate firecrackers will be lit on the dot of 9 p.m., along with fireworks in the sky, in the culmination of the whole day’s festivities.