Mon, Aug 15, 2011 - Page 15 News List

Offerings for French spirits at Keelung ghost festival
「雞籠中元祭」 也祭拜「法國好兄弟」

A monk walks around a gravestone that was erected in memory of the French soldiers who died during the Sino-French War as part of the Keelung Ghost Festival in Keelung City on Aug. 3.
一位法師八月三日在「雞籠中元祭」,於基隆市的一座石碑周圍,為一八八四到一八八五年的清法戰爭戰死法國士兵舉行法會。

Photo: Wu Liang-yi, Taipei Times
照片:自由時報記者吳亮儀

Instead of the typical offerings made to ostensibly appease local ghosts, the Keelung Ghost Festival usually also includes offerings for the ghosts of French naval officers who perished in the area during the Sino-French War of the 1880s. Among those taking part in this year’s ceremony were actors playing the roles of important historical figures who were alive during the war, such as Empress Dowager Cixi, Qing Dynasty governor of Taiwan Liu Ming-chuan, and French admiral Amedee Courbet. The actors all carried offerings to the Sino-French War Memorial Park for the French soldiers’ spirits.

The Sino-French War, which lasted from 1884 to 1885, was a war fought between France and China for control over Tonkin, a northern region in Vietnam. On the island of Taiwan, however, the war consisted of the Keelung Campaign and the Battle of Tamsui. The more than 700 French naval officers that died in battles fought around Taiwan were initially buried at what is now officially designated a Sino-French War historical site in Keelung’s Zhongzheng District, which in Chinese is commonly called the French cemetery. However, their remains were gradually shipped to France for proper burials over the years, and now what was once a cemetery is merely a historical site.

The annual ghost festival held in Keelung has always included offerings not only to local ghosts, but also to the French soldiers that died here. The main religious ceremony for aiding ghosts in their journey from this world to the next is carried out here in accordance with past traditions, and includes using animals and food such as chicken, pork, fish, fruit and sticky rice as offerings. But out of consideration for the ghosts’ national backgrounds and cultural preferences, in Keelung’s case, the practitioners also offer them French bread and red wine.

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. appease v.

撫慰﹔滿足 (fu3 wei4; man3 zu2)

例: How can you ever possibly appease that enormous appetite of yours?

(你到底如何滿足你龐大的食慾?)

2. designate v.

指定 (zhi3 ding4)

例: The city has designated special lanes for bikes so that pedestrians have sidewalks all to themselves.

(該城市給腳踏車設計了特別的車道,使得行人能完全享有人行道。)

3. preference n.

偏好 (pian1 hao4)

例: It is my personal preference to eat hot dogs with mustard instead of ketchup.

(吃熱狗時加芥末不加番茄醬是我個人的偏好。)


Patrick Mansier, an official from the French Institute in Taipei representing the intitute’s director, offered a few words at the ceremony in sub-par Mandarin Chinese. He said he strongly felt the enthusiasm and philanthropy of the people in Keelung, and wished for Taiwan to remain safe and prosperous.

(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED BY TAIJING WU,

ADDITIONAL COMPILING BY KYLE JEFFCOAT)

「雞籠中元祭」除祭拜撫慰本土「好兄弟」外,也不忘祭拜一八八零年代,清法戰爭中客死異鄉的法國海軍官兵的鬼魂。今年祭典上有人打扮成當時扮演重要歷史角色的人物,如慈禧太后、清朝任命台灣總督的劉銘傳、以及法國海軍的孤拔將軍。演員們挑著祭品前往清法戰爭紀念園區,祭拜法國好兄弟。

「清法戰爭」自西元一八八四到一八八五年,為法國與中國為爭奪越南北部北圻地區主權的戰爭。但這場戰爭在台灣本島包括基隆與淡水兩個戰場。七百多名戰死台灣戰場的法國海軍官兵,當時埋在現今指定的基隆市中正區「清法戰爭遺址」,也就是當地俗稱的法國公墓。不過多年來,當中的法軍骨骸已陸續遷回法國安葬,而法國公墓也成了歷史古蹟。

每年於基隆舉行的中元祭除祭拜本地「好兄弟」外,也一同祭拜當年戰死沙場的法國士兵。幫助鬼魂從人間前往陰間的主祭典,總是遵循過往傳統,祭拜以牲禮、素果、粽粿等台灣傳統祭品。但以基隆中元祭的例子而言,因體諒到鬼魂國籍與文化偏好不同,備有法國麵包、紅酒等物,祭拜法國「好兄弟」們。

代表法國在台協會主任的官員孟伯迪也到現場,他用生澀的中文致詞,他深刻感受到基隆人的熱情和博愛精神,也祝福台灣國泰民安。

(自由時報記者吳亮儀,資料彙整台北時報Kyle Jeffcoat)

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