& Festivals 2000
New Year (February 5)
The Chinese or Lunar New Year is the longest and most important festival
in Taiwan. During this time, the usual custom would include paying off
debts, purchasing new clothes, cleaning the house, enjoying sumptuous
family feasts, offering sacrifices to the gods, and giving friends and
relatives "red envelopes" (ang pau) containing "lucky money." You'll hear
firecrackers throughout the night on New Year's Eve and on the following
Festival (February 19)
The Lantern Festival came about when the people of ancient China first
believed that celestial spirits could be seen flying about in the light
of the first full moon of the new lunar year. Their search using torches
evolved into the current celebrations of colorful lanterns at temples
and parks. Children of the past were given lanterns to carry on the school
day of the New Year to symbolize the hope of a bright future for the child.
In modern Taiwan, small children carry lanterns and roam the streets on
the eve of the festival.
Sweeping Day (April 5)
Since ancient times, a day has been designated for sweeping the tombs
and honoring the ancestors. Ancestor worship is usually performed on the
first few days prior to or following Ching Ming.
Boat Festival (June 6)
Many people attended the festive boat races in Taipei, Lukang, Taiwan
and Kaohsiung, with teams coming from all over the world. Boat races during
the Dragon Boat Festival is to commemorate the rescue attempt of Chu Yuan,
a patriotic poet, who drowned on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month
in 277BC. When the attempt to rescue him failed, the people had to throw
bamboo stuffed with cooked rice into the water so that the fish would
eat the rice and not his body. From that, it evolves to the present day
custom of eating tzungtzu, a kind of rice dumplings filled with ham or
bean paste and wrapped in bamboo leaves.
Festival (August 14)
It was said that on the first day of the seventh lunar month, known as
Ghost Month, the gates of Hell would open wide and the spirits are allowed
a month of feasting and revelry in the world of the living. To ensure
that the ghosts enjoy a pleasant vacation, lavish sacrifices are set out,
sacrifices paper money is burned, and Taiwanese operas are performed.
Festival (September 12)
Autumn Moon Festival falls in the middle of the eighth lunar Chinese month
when the moon is supposed to be at its fullest. With a ripe, round moon
considered a symbol of happiness, the national holiday is also a time
for family reunions.
Ninth Day (October 6)
It is no wonder why the Double Ninth Day was named thus as it falls on
the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. The day is also known as Chung
Yang or Double Yang Festival for the Chinese custom recognize "nine" as
a number belonging to the positive principle "yang". On that day, activities
such as hill climbing, drinking chrysanthemum wine, hanging dogwood sprays,
and other customs dating back to the Han Dynasty story of Huan Ching and
Fei Chang-fang were put to practiced. The Taiwanese have also enriched
their holiday with kite flying, an up and coming custom.