Saisiat Festival in Taiwan – November 11, 2019
Also spelt as ‘Saisiyat’, is one of the aboriginal tribes in Taiwan that inhabit the mountains separating Hsinchu and Miaoli counties with approximately 7,000 people.
The name “Saisiyat” means “true people” and is reflective of the ethnocentric outlook that is common to indigenous groups throughout the world. Inhabiting the mountains separating Hsinchu and Miaoli counties, the approximately 7,000, saisha are divided into northern and southern subgroups.
Saisiyat society is organized along patriarchal lines, with each clan maintaining its own totems and symbols. This tribe is known for its biennial Dwarf Festival.
Mid-Autumn Festival in Taiwan – September 13, 2019
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a Chinese harvest festival, also celebrated in Taiwan. It falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month in the traditional Chinese calendar. It is an official public holiday in Taiwan, as well as China, Macau, and Hong Kong.
The festival is known by many names, such Harvest Moon Festival, Mooncake Festival, and Reunion Festival. It celebrates three fundamental concepts that have shaped the traditions of the festival, Gathering: family and friends come together to celebrate and harvest crops, Thanksgiving: people give thanks for good harvest and Praying: people ask deities for material or conceptual satisfaction, such as health, wealth, babies etc.
The Mid-Autumn Festival has been celebrated for centuries. One of its most important parts is moon worship, as moon symbolizes femininity and fertility. On this day, the Chinese honor Chang-yi, the goddess of the Moon.
Modern celebration of the festival includes family gatherings, traditional lion and dragon dances, lighting lanterns, folk games etc. Probably, the best known tradition is making and sharing mooncakes, small round cakes filled with lotus seed paste or red bean.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is also celebrated in Vietnam, where it is known as Tết Trung Thu or Children’s Festival. It is marked with lantern processions and lion dances.
Ghost Month in Taiwan
Ghost Festival (also Hungry Ghost Festival) is a traditional Chinese folk religions festival. For 2019, Taiwan celebrates this festival on August 15th.
The 7th month is regarded in the Chinese calendar as the month when the realms of Heaven and Hell are open and ghosts (or spirits) of the decided people wonder among us. The ghosts are hungry and they want entertainment, that’s why during the whole month, Buddhists and Taoists in China make special practices to give the ghosts what they want and also hold services to release these souls. The culmination of the festival is on the 15th day, when people bring food for the ghosts.
Special activities during the month include burning joss paper. It’s believed, that this paper after burning is used by ghosts, that’s why special banknotes, houses and a papier-mâché form of clothes, gold and other goods are burned.
A special loud entertainment show is also organized for the ghosts at night. It usually includes Chinese opera, dramas and burlesque shows. The shows are very loud, because the sound attracts the ghosts. After the end of the festival people float water lanterns or set them outside of their houses making sure that the ghosts find their way back home.
There are many taboos that have to be remembered during the festival: never stroll at night, don’t swim, don’t move to new house or start a new business, don’t hang clothes outside at night, don’t pick up money found on street, don’t sing and whistle and keep away from walls.
The Double Seventh Festival in Taiwan – August 7, 2019
The Double Seventh Festival, also called the Chi Hsi Festival, is on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month. It is a traditional festival full of romance which often goes into August in the Gregorian calendar. For 2019, Taiwan celebrates the Chi Hsi Festival on August 7th.
It falls on the seventh day of the 7th month on the Chinese calendar. It is sometimes called the Double Seventh Festival, the Chinese Valentine’s Day, the Night of Sevens, or the Magpie Festival.
This festival is in mid-summer when the weather is warm and the grass and trees reveal their floor greens. At night when the sky is dotted with stars, and people can see the Milky Way spanning from the north to the south. Of it is a bright star, which see each other from afar. They are the Cowherd and Weaver Maid, and about them there is a beautiful love story passed down from generation to generation.
Dragon Boat Festival in Taiwan – June 7, 2019
The Dragon Boat Festival, often referred to as the Tuen Ng Festival, the Duanwu Festival or the Double Fifth Festival, is a traditional holiday that originates in China. It is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese calendar.
The festival is believed to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, a Chinese poet and minister known for his contributions to classical Chinese poetry as well as his patriotism. Qu Yuan committed ritual suicide as a form of protest against the corruption of the era, drowning himself in the Miluo River.
According to legend, villagers desperately tried to save him, but their attempts turned out futile. So they started to beat drums, splash the water with paddles and throw sticky rice into the river in order to keep fish and evil spirits away from Qu Yuan’s body.
Dragon boat races held during the festival originated from the act of racing to save Qu Yuan or at least retrieve his body from the water. And the balls of sticky rice that were thrown into the water have transformed into zongzi (sticky rice dumplings), traditional food eaten during the Duanwu Festival.
The Dragon Boat Festival is an official public holiday in some Asian countries, such as China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. It is unofficially celebrated by Chinese communities in Malaysia, Singapore and some other countries in southeast Asia.