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A Celebration of Tradition and Culture
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Thanks to its fusion of Chinese, Fujianese, Hakka, Cantonese, and various aboriginal cultures, throughout the year Taiwan boasts a wonderful array of festivals and celebrations. Each one of them is fascinating and exotic. The fireworks, the music, dancing and singing, the colourful costumes, the carefully followed rituals, the intriguing tales and the crowds of worshippers, all combine to make an authentic and unforgettable experience for visitors.
As in Mainland China, New Year is celebrated on the first day of the first new moon of the year. This is a serious cause for celebration, with an official three day holiday period often extended into a week of revelry and fun. Street parties fireworks and music dominate proceedings.
On the 15th day of the first moon, the towns of Yenshui, Luerhmen and Peikang literally erupt with color and spectacle as the lantern Festival begins. Visitors from all over Taiwan- and the world- gather for a loud and explosive celebration of Chinese fireworks- a must see for any pyro-technic fan.
Kuanyin is the goddess of mercy, and festivals in her honor are held at Buddhist temples all over Taiwan on her Birthday- the 19th day of the second moon. For more information on Buddhist temples click here Temples in Taiwan
On the fifth day of the fifth moon, a major day of racing is held across the island. Long, beautifully decorated Chinese dragon boats, each with a crew of expert oarsmen, race for local and national titles. This spectacular event is watched live and on TV by most Taiwanese people, who also regard this day as a time to prepare and eat steamed rice zongzi dumplings.
For the entire seventh moon, ghosts dominate the island of Taiwan. Sometimes called the Mid-Summer Ghost Festival. This entire month is a period when its is believed that the spirits of the dead walk the earth. This is a long held Chinese Taoist belief, which has its roots with the birthday of the Chinese Guardian of Hell. It is believed he celebrates this day by decreeing an amnesty in the underworld, allowing all of the lost souls in hell to rise and return to earth for one month before being sent back.
During this month many special celebrations are held, with sacrifices and offerings laid out to feed and appease the wandering lost souls. The gates of tombs and graveyards are left open to allow the dead access to the world, and lanterns are floated in the sea to guide back the souls of those lost beneath the waves.
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