5 September Events in Taiwan

With the Ghost Month almost over and Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Cake Festival), here are the September events in Taiwan:

1. National Yimin Festival – 2015/08/29 – 2015/09/02

2015-09-01 National Yimin Festival

During the Lin Shuangwen incident in the late Qing dynasty, Lin Xiankun of Liuzhangli Village (present day Zhubei) led a group of soldiers and joined forces with other leaders from Guangdong including Wang Tingchang, Chen Ziyun, and Liu Chaozhen to bravely resist invaders. Over 200 men sacrificed their lives in the battle, winning them an imperial decree declaring their loyalty. Later, Lin Xiankun enlisted the aid of local leaders such as Liu Chaozhen, Wang Tingchang, Huang Zongwang, and Wu Ligui in constructing a temple to memorialize the dead. Traditional ceremonies of the Yimin Festival include raising lantern poles, releasing water lanterns, carrying shoulder poles, returning black banners to the woman’s parents’ home, and Da Shi Ye. 15 villages in Hsinchu and Taoyuan take turns hosting the event, which has a history of 220 years. These ceremonies became a unique form of belief for the Hakka people and turned Yimin Ye into one of Taiwan’s main deities.

Since the festival occurs during the seventh month of the lunar calendar, it is often organized along with the Ghost Festival, combining the spirit of compassion for departed spirits with respect for those who gave their lives in defense of their homeland. During the seventh month, Taiwan’s Yimin Temples organize events to pay the proper respects, and as Xinpu Yimin Temple is the country’s main one, it represents the Hakka’s religious center. The worship ceremonies organized here have a long history, are held on a large scale, are representative of Taiwan, and are overall highly regarded. The branch temples will gather and return to the woman’s parents’ home, carrying on Yimin Ye’s spirit of loyalty and righteousness.

【Character】 International
【Location】Hsinpu Township, Hsinchu CountyHsinchu County Sinpu Township
【Tel】 886-3-5510201#706 【WebSite】 http://www.hchcc.gov.tw/ 【Organizers】 Hsinchu County Government

2. Toucheng “Qianggu”-Grappling with the Ghost pole-climbing competition – 2015/09/12 – 2015/09/12

2015-09-01 Kinmen Mid-Autumn Gambling Festival

Starting in the Qing dynasty, there has been a custom of people seizing sacrificial goods after the Ghost Festival is over. Some say this is to scare away lingering spirits, and is known as “Qianggu” (ghost grappling). The Qianggu competition held in Toucheng is Taiwan’s largest and one of Yilan’s important traditional events during the seventh lunar month. The tower consists of pillars made of China fir, 11 meters tall and 8 meters wide, with 7 or 8 meter bamboo trestlework on top. Squid, rice dumplings, rice noodles, meat, fish, and other foods are tied to the trestlework. Team members must climb on top of each other to reach the top of the trestlework and pillars, which are covered in oil. Reaching the top, they cut down the food and throw it to the frame below, where it is taken by spectators. Whoever claims the wind banner at the top is declared the winner.

There are a variety of other events, including the water lantern old street tour, releasing water lanterns into Zhu’an River a day before the ghost gates close, and Beiguan Battle. There is a period of one month between the first day when the ghost gates open and the last day when Qianggu is held. In addition to remembering the ancestors and their pioneering efforts, the month includes a variety of religious traditional and folk culture events.

【Character】 International
【Location】Wenxiaoyi Cultural Park Toucheng Township, Yilan County (Qianggu field), the estuary of Jhu-an River, villages of Toucheng, as well as Baiyun and Yushi Villages of JiaoxiYilan County
【Tel】 886-03-9771459 【Organizers】 Ghost Festival Association, Toucheng Township, Yilan County

3. Kinmen Mid-Autumn Moon-cake Gambling Festival – 2015/08/29 – 2015/09/28

2015-09-01 Toucheng Qianggu

Starting in the Qing dynasty, there has been a custom of people seizing sacrificial goods after the Ghost Festival is over. Some say this is to scare away lingering spirits, and is known as “Qianggu” (ghost grappling). The Qianggu competition held in Toucheng is Taiwan’s largest and one of Yilan’s important traditional events during the seventh lunar month. The tower consists of pillars made of China fir, 11 meters tall and 8 meters wide, with 7 or 8 meter bamboo trestlework on top. Squid, rice dumplings, rice noodles, meat, fish, and other foods are tied to the trestlework. Team members must climb on top of each other to reach the top of the trestlework and pillars, which are covered in oil. Reaching the top, they cut down the food and throw it to the frame below, where it is taken by spectators. Whoever claims the wind banner at the top is declared the winner.

There are a variety of other events, including the water lantern old street tour, releasing water lanterns into Zhu’an River a day before the ghost gates close, and Beiguan Battle. There is a period of one month between the first day when the ghost gates open and the last day when Qianggu is held. In addition to remembering the ancestors and their pioneering efforts, the month includes a variety of religious traditional and folk culture events.

【Character】 International
【Location】Wenxiaoyi Cultural Park Toucheng Township, Yilan County (Qianggu field), the estuary of Jhu-an River, villages of Toucheng, as well as Baiyun and Yushi Villages of JiaoxiYilan County
【Tel】 886-03-9771459 【Organizers】 Ghost Festival Association, Toucheng Township, Yilan County

4. Keelung Mid-Summer Ghost Festival – 2015/08/13 – 2015/09/13

2015-09-01 Keelung Mid-Summer Ghost Festival

Keelung Mid-Summer Ghost Festival is one of the 12 major festivals designated by the Tourism Bureau. It started in the Qing dynasty when immigrants from Fujian settled Keelung. Because of disagreements over ancestral origins, they clashed over business, land, plowing, customs, and beliefs, leading to armed conflict, heavy casualties, and hostility. In 1853, a great battle was fought at Hangding (present-day Nanrong Cemetary), with over a hundred casualties. On the verge of another conflict, elders and leaders from either side negotiated a truce. Bodies of the dead were referred to as “Lao Da Gong,” and they were buried and worshipped. Based on their surname, people took turns negotiating. These were the 11 families of Keelung, which took turns organizing the Ghost Festival. Family relationships replaced ancestral hometowns as the basis for ties, bringing together the two sides which took turns organizing the festival and offering to lonely spirits. Parade competition replaced armed conflict to preserve the peace.

The Mid-Summer Ghost Festival begins on the first day of the seventh lunar month, when Lao Da Gong Temple opens Kanmen, and over the next 12 days the lanterns are lit and colored thread released on Zhupu altar. The Ying Dou Deng procession takes place on the 13th day, the water lantern procession by the seashore on the 14th, the Ghost Festival ceremony on the 15th, and finally comes the Jumping Zhong Kui and Opening Kanmen, on the first day of the 8th month. The entire period lasts a month, and is similar to the Western world’s Christmas or Japan’s Night Parade of a Hundred Demons. Each ceremony has a historical and folk culture signficance, and over the last few years culture and art aspects have been integrated with the traditional ceremony. These aspects include art exhibitions and famous groups from Taiwan and abroad. We hope that the Ghost Festival will increase solidarity and mutual blessing among the people of Keelung.

【Character】 International
【Location】Lao Da gong Temple No. 37, Ln. 76, Le 1st Rd., Anle Dist., Keelung CityKeelung City Anle District
【Tel】 886-2-2422-4170 【Organizers】 Cultural Affairs Bureau, Keelung City Government

5. Sun Moon Lake Swimming Carnival – 2015/09/20

2015-09-01 Sun Moon Lake Swimming Carnival

Nantou is Taiwan’s only inland county but is home to the famous, unrivalled Sun Moon Lake, the largest freshwater lake. Attracting visitors from abroad, it’s an essential tourist destination, and in addition to scenic beauty, the unique landscape has made it an excellent place for biking, marathons, and an annual swimming competition, which is the area’s biggest and longest-running event, starting in 1983. Every year around the Mid-Autumn Festival, swimmers from around Taiwan or abroad gather at Zhaowu Wharf to participate in this grand event. The course is 3000 meters long and in 2002 was officially included among the world’s famous swimming competitions. Bringing thousands of swimming enthusiasts from Taiwan and abroad, it has become a grand event.

Eligibility is open to everyone aged 10 or over (life guards are responsible for minors) who is in good health and able to swim long distances.

【Character】 International
【Location】Sun Moon Lake International Swimming Carnival (Choawu Pier → Ita Thao Wharf Pier, Sun Moon Lake, Nantou County)Nantou County Yuchih Township
Wuling Cycling Race Start from Geographic Center Landmark of Puli Township, Nantou County and end at Wuling parking lot.Nantou County Puli Township
Zhongtan Highway Marathon Round trip between Caotun and Guosing, Nantou CountyNantou County Caotun Township
【Tel】 886-49-2203639【Organizers】 Nantou County Government

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