Festivals in Taiwan
Taiwan is located between the Philippines and Japan, 100 miles off the coast of China. It is roughly the size of the Netherlands and the state of West Virginia, USA. A number of smaller, nearby islands have had historic association with Taiwan, including the Pescadores, Green Island, Orchid Island, and Shiao Liu-Chiu.
About 15% of Taiwan’s residents are refugees from the mainland who came over with the KMT in 1945-1949 and their Taiwan-born descendants. The rest of the population are called‘native Taiwanese’， and are the descendants of the Chinese settlers who arrived 350 or more years ago. About 70% are descendants of immigrants from south Fukien Province, and are known as ‘Minnan’ or ‘Hoklo，. Another 12-15% are descended from Hakka immigrants from Kwantung Province. One or two percent of the people are Aborigines; there are nine tribes with distinct languages and cultures.
Throughout 400 years of history, Taiwan has been occupied by the Dutch, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese. Although Chinese culture has exerted a considerable influence on local traditions, Japanese and Western culture have as well. There are also some uniquely Taiwanese aspects of local culture, such as opera, folk music, literature and film.
Festivals in Taiwan is part of the Taiwanese Tradition Series presented by the Culture Committee, Houston Taiwanese School of Language and Culture. This book introduces the festivals most celebrated in Taiwan and explores their origins and customs. Through them, you may find the values underlying the culture. Hopefully, this will help you understand the difference between American and Taiwanese cultures.
What is special about this book is that most of the articles were translated or edited by second-generation Taiwanese Americans. They are attending high school, college or graduate studies, and some of them have attended this Taiwanese School.