The magnificent and colorful Songjiang Battle Array (
In its fifth year, the demonstrations of various battles are breathing life into an important aspect of grass-roots martial arts training, which has existed since the 17th century in Taiwan.
The festival has been designated by the Tourism Bureau as one of the 12 major cultural activities in the country and will begin tomorrow and last until March 19 at the plaza in front of Zihjhu Temple (
During the nine-day-show of cultural events, the Creative Battle Array Competition -- attended by a record-breaking 19 college teams this year -- will dominate the first day of the festival.
This college competition, in its second year, began on March 4 and has produced 10 teams for the final. Last year, only nine college teams from southern Taiwan showed up for the match, which National University of Tainan won.
The prize for the number one team is NT$300,000, the same as last year. However, a gorgeous-looking glass-craft trophy, named the King's Seal (
According to the organizers, the Creative Battle Array Competition is "aiming to blend street dance, hip-hop [and a] cheerleading spirit for the Songjiang Battle Array, with the additions of youth and creation."
Organizer of the event Wu Hwei-ling (
The exciting Songjiang Battle Array was, possibly, created by one of Koxinga's generals in the Ming dynasty. The array has 18 basic sets of tactical deployment and is most often practiced by 36 persons. In addition to kung fu, the demonstration is usually accompanied by drums, gongs and cymbals to cheer up the spirit.
Neimen township, with a population of a little more than 18,000, will entertain with classical Taiwanese songs, dragon dances and folk dances.
Visitors may even get a free meal when the Neimen chef banquet is held.
What: 2006 Neimen Songjiang Battle Array
Where: Zihjhu Temple, Neimen Township, Kaohsiung
When: March 11 to March 19.
Details: www.kscg.gov.tw or www.nmnhtemple.org.tw
Contact: (07) 6671602