Engaging with Taiwanese Culture: Discover 10 Vibrant Festivals

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One of the greatest attractions of Taiwan’s is the sheer depth and diversity of its celebrations. All the Taiwan festivals are observed with energy and enthusiasm. The largest celebrations among these have Chinese roots and are declared public holidays in Taiwan. The broad assortment of indigenous festivities and an impressive array of regional religious celebrations are also a part of the Taiwanese festival calendar.

In order to get a proper taste of the Taiwanese culture, one needs to experience these celebrations and be a part of time-honored traditions. If you are planning to visit the country in the future then read on to gain some knowledge about some of the most popular Taiwan festivals.

Top 10 Taiwan Festivals

The best Taiwan festivals are listed down along with some additional information about them that will come in handy:

1. Lunar New Year2. Dragon Boat Festival3. Wrestling With The Ghost4. Mid-Autumn Festival5. Zhongyuan Festival6. Indigenous Festivals7. Guanin’s Birthday8. Yimin Festival9. Double Ninth Day10. Mazu Birthday And Pilgrimage

Chinese New Year

1. Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year has to be the most popular and well-known Taiwan festival. This is also referred to as the transition of the year as people like to discard the old and accept the new. This spring festival is held on the first day of the lunar calendar year. The people carry out spring cleaning on the last day of the old lunar year to get rid of all things negative.

On New year’s day people distribute traditional food items and sweets while kids and elders enjoy a magnificent fireworks display. Be a part of this festival if you want to have a second New year celebration.

When: 22 Jan 2023

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Dragon Boat Festival

2. Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival is one of Taiwan’s most popular recurring festivals. The festival originates from ancient times commemorating the old poet Qu Yuan. That is the reason why this festival is also widely recognized as the Poet’s Festival. The main attraction of this festival includes Dragon boat racing and exchange of dumplings made of rice known as Zongi. Take part in this incredible festival to gain a better understanding of the intricacies of the festival.

When: Throughout the lunar new year and mid-autumn season

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3. Dealing With The Spirit

Grappling With The Ghost

Dealing with the Spirit is a competition that primarily involves ascending poles. This celebration takes place during the Ghost Month, thus the designation. The individuals who settled in the Yilan province were frequently struck by numerous natural calamities and ailments. Consequently, many of them perished and transitioned into the afterlife.

Hence, upon arriving in Yilan, the immigrants performed pole climbing ceremonies. This was carried out for the purpose of facilitating the souls of the departed in their journey to the heavens. In the modern era, various pole climbing competitions are also organized by people.

When: Ghost Month or the 7th month of the Lunar CalendarWhere: Toucheng and Hengchun

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4. Mid-Autumn Celebration

Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Celebration is observed by individuals following the initial autumn harvest. They express gratitude to the divine for the bountiful harvest and offer prayers for a year of good health. This occasion also stands as the sole amorous celebration in Taiwan, as most festivities hold religious significance. Couples consume moon cakes and specially prepared wines while strolling beneath the moon to symbolize fortitude in love and oneness.

Families celebrate by hosting barbeque gatherings and dining together with visitors. You can have a close-up experience of this by visiting a local’s residence.

When: During Autumn

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5. Zhongyuan Festival

Zhongyuan Festival

The Zhongyuan Festival is observed with great enthusiasm and vitality in Taiwan. This customary festival requires devotees to present food items such as produce, blossoms, and meat as offerings to the hungry spirits at the temples. Individuals who are unable to visit temples construct exquisitely decorated traditional altars and place them in front of their homes. Then they proceed to offer the sacrificial items.

People pray for a favorable afterlife and universal salvation for their deceased loved ones. This is also referred to as Zhongyuan Pudu. The locals also prepare poultry, fish, and duck dishes to exchange with one another.

When: Ghost Month from the 1st day to the 29th day

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6. Indigenous Festivals

Aboriginal Festivals

Despite the fact that numerous Taiwanese religious and traditional festivals are well-documented, many celebrations within indigenous or local tribal communities remain closely guarded secrets. Even the indigenous people themselves are sometimes unaware of the various events and dates of the indigenous festivals. Each local village has its own distinct set of customs and traditions to adhere to. Only the village elders possess the actual dates of the festivals.

If you are fortunate, you may have the opportunity to witness the indigenous people during one of their celebrations. However, be aware that local chiefs are hesitant and disapprove of their culture becoming a spectacle. Therefore, cameras are strictly prohibited.

When: The dates are approximate and are usually determined by the tribal elders Where: In the tribal regions of Taiwan

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7. Guanin’s Birthday

The image is for illustrative purposes only.

The goddess of compassion, also known as Guanine, is a significant deity in Taiwan. The birthday of this benevolent mother Goddess is commemorated at various Buddhist temples across the country. This festival has its main focal points at the Longshan Temple in Taipei and the Zizhu Temple. The festival’s 300-year-old rich history offers many attractions for visitors.

When: March/Lunar FebruaryWhere: Taipei

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8. Yimin Celebration

Yimin Festival

The Yimin Celebration is held in Lunar July. This commemorates the annual gathering of the Hakka individuals in remembrance of the Hakka militia group that fought during the 1700s. The Yimin Temple functions as the primary location for the festivities. Individuals collect here to pay homage to their elders and make offerings. Nevertheless, this celebration does not attract many foreigners as it includes animal sacrifice.

When: Lunar JulyWhere: Fangliao

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9. Double Ninth Day

Festival celebration

The digit 9 often symbolizes masculine energy or yang. Double Ninth Day is celebrated on the 9th day of the 9th month in the lunar calendar, thus acquiring its name. There are activities that signify masculine vitality and strength such as hill climbing, strolling, kite flying, and consuming Chrysanthemum wine. This day is also observed as Senior Citizen’s Day and is regarded as an auspicious moment to honor elders of the community.

When: 9th day of the 9th Lunar Month

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10. Mazu Birthday And Pilgrimage

Festival celebration View

The Dajia Mazu Pilgrimage is an immense journey and is regarded as one of the largest religious events in the world. Devotees will assemble a caravan and march towards the Dajia temple with the Mazu deity. This festival, which lasts for 8 days, is always celebrated prior to Mazu’s birthday. Celebrations include traditional cuisine, dance, and prayers to Mazu.

Mazu’s birthday is one of the most significant festivals in Taiwan. This folk festival is celebrated in honor of the sea Goddess Mazu. The Mazu deities are taken on a journey by the people and then returned to their respective Mother Temples.

When: April/Lunar MarchWhere: Dajia, Beigang, Lugang

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The culture of Taiwan is one of the most diverse and ancient cultures worldwide. To experience it, you must participate in the Taiwan Festivals that we have listed for you. The list is comprehensive and provides you with a thorough understanding of the events for you to enjoy your journey to Taiwan. We hope you acquire great knowledge and memories while you engage in these celebrations.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Taiwan Festivals

Why is the Taiwan Lantern Festival celebrated?

The Chinese Calendar is followed throughout Taiwan. The Lantern Festival, celebrated annually on the 15th day of the first lunar month, marks the grand finale of the Chinese New Year. Additionally, it is also the first full moon day of the New Year, symbolizing the beginning of spring.

What is the Dragon Boat Festival?

There was a poet and minister named Qu Yuan who took his own life by throwing himself into the Miluo River. It is said that the locals raced in their boats to save him but could not find him. The women threw sticky rice balls into the water to feed the fish so that they would not eat his body. The locals racing in the boats became the origin for the modern-day Dragon Boat Racing Festival in Taiwan.

What are the major holidays in Taiwan?

There are approximately 10 major holidays in Taiwan, including Chinese New Year, Memorial Day, Tomb Sweeping Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, National Day, and more.

What is the special food eaten at the Lantern Festival?

The special food consumed during the Lantern Festival is Tang Yuan or Yuanxiao, a sticky rice dumpling that symbolizes reunion, harmony, and happiness for the family.

Is Chinese New Year celebrated in Taiwan?

Yes. The people in Taiwan celebrate the Spring Festival with other traditional Chinese customs. Since Chinese New Year is one of the liveliest holidays in Taiwan, all celebrations are geared towards having a fun time.

Does Taiwan celebrate Christmas?

Christmas is not a national holiday in Taiwan. However, Christmas is celebrated more enthusiastically in Taiwan than in mainland China. Although only 5% of people in Taiwan are Christians, you will find stores selling Christmas-related items.

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