Culture | Market economies: New Year shopping in Taiwan
A calligrapher writes a set of spring festival couplets for a customer. Spring festival couplets are used as New Year decorations in Taiwan to express hopeful thoughts for the coming year. Handwritten ones are increasingly rare in the digital age. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen

Market economies: New Year shopping in Taiwan

A glimpse into Taiwan's traditional markets, where you can pick up anything you might possibly need – food, candies, spring festival couplets, headbands – for the Lunar New Year holiday

January 27, 2017 7:14 PM (UTC+8)
A woman buying bagfuls of vegetables from the vendors in the morning of Lunar New Year's eve. Preparation for the new year's eve dinner usually took up a whole day. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
A woman buys bagfuls of vegetables from the vendors on the morning of Lunar New Year’s eve. Preparations for New Year’s eve dinner usually take up a whole day. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
A grocery store inside Taichung's Yidianli market. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
A grocery store inside Taichung’s Yidianli market. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
A vegetable store in Taichung's Yidianli market. "We have every kind of vegetable you could think of - and is the cheapest in the market," a shopkeeper says. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
A vegetable store in Taichung’s Yidianli market. “We have every kind of vegetable you could think of – and ours is the cheapest in the market,” a shopkeeper says. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
A vendor, surrounded by curious mothers and daughters, introduces the wigs and headbands he have for sale. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
A vendor, surrounded by curious mothers and daughters, introduces them to his wigs and headbands. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
Father and son lives in Lishan, a mountain area around 40 minutes away from Taichung's city center. Here in Jingu market, the two sell vegetables and mushrooms every Friday. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
A father and son from Lishan, in the mountains outside Taichung, sell vegetables in Jingu market every Friday. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
A pork shop in Jingu market, Taichung, Taiwan. The shopkeeper is enjoying a short period of silence before the next group of people come flocking in for Lunar New Year's goods. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
A pork shop in Jingu market, Taichung. The shopkeeper is enjoying a moment of peace before the next group of shoppers descends. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
Every item here - ranging from pens, bolls to towels - cost only NT$17 during the Lunar New Year holiday. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
Every item here – ranging from pens to bowls and towels – costs just NT$17  (US$0.54) during the Lunar New Year holiday. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
A man buying wrapped good luck candies for the Lunar New Year. During the holiday, every family will prepare various kinds of candies, snacks and fruits for the family and visitors. Candies symbolize good luck in the coming new year. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
A man buys wrapped good luck candies for the Lunar New Year. Candies symbolize good luck in the coming year. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
People queuing up to pick up pre-cooked New Year's Eve dinner. Some families choose to book pre-cooked dishes for the family reunion dinner, because dinner preparations sometimes take days, or a whole week to finish. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
People queue to pick up pre-cooked New Year’s Eve dinners. Some families. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
People picking spring festival couplets - printed ones. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
Customers shop for spring festival couplets – printed ones. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
People picking red envelops for the Lunar New Year. Red envelopes are monetary gifts given during holidays or special occasions, symbolizing good luck and is a symbol to ward off evil spirits. They are usually given out by older to younger ones during the Lunar New Year. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
Women pick out red envelopes, which are used for monetary gifts given during the holidays, usually by more senior members of society to their younger kin. Red, symbolizing good luck, is thought to ward off evil spirits. Photo: Asia Times / Liu Hsiu Wen
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