January 1 is Taiwan’s official “Independence Day”. After declaring independence from the Ching government in China on October 10, 1911 (Double Ten Day), Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the
founding father of Taiwan, was inaugurated as the Republic of China’s first presidenton January 1st, 1912.
January 1 is now an official state holiday and Taiwanese have a holiday from school and work. At one time, many Taiwanese flags were shown and there were more celebrations. However, in modern times, January 1 also coincides with the new year of the Gregorian calendar.
Many cities now host celebrations and activities to “count down” the New Year. Taiwanese will make plans for “Kua Nian” 跨年，which means to stay up on New Year’s Eve andcross over into the new year.
One of the most popular modern icons of the Taiwan New Year’s Eve countdown is the exploding of fireworks along the sides of the Taipei 101 building in Taipei City. The Taipei 101 was once the tallest building in the world. Hundreds of thousands of revelers now flock to downtown Taipei to count down the New Year and watch the fireworks display. Taipei City leaves the MRT and bus routes open for most of the night as it takes hours until the city is quiet again. One can argue that “Kua Nian” 跨年, has taken precedence over the original Founding Taiwan celebration.