Tue, Feb 07, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Jhudong Hakkas sing mountain songs on ‘Sky Mending Day’
客家「天穿日」 傳統山歌繚繞竹東

Contestants wearing traditional Hakka costumes sing and dance in Jhudong Township “Sky Mending Day” Taiwan Hakka Mountain Song Contest last year,the gold medal winners in last year’s contest.

Photo courtesy of Jhudong Township Office

Selected as one of 12 major Hakka festivals by the Hakka Affairs Council, Jhudong Township “Sky Mending Day” Taiwan Hakka Mountain Song Contest has now entered its 48th year. This year the event will take place at the Hakka Theater Park in Jhudong Township in Hsinchu County for four days starting the day after tomorrow. Hakka villages in northern Taiwan celebrate the folk festival “Sky Mending Day,” or tian chuan ri, on the 20th day of the first lunar month, which is five days after Lantern Festival. It is the most important day for Hakkas living in and around Jhudong. Hakkas generally lived in mountainous regions; therefore, they have developed their own specialized genre of mountain music. Mountain song competitions are held by many township offices in Hakka-populated areas, but the one held in Jhudong is considered to be the oldest and the biggest.

Legend has it that “Sky Mending Day” is celebrated as a memorial to the goddess Nuwa, who in Chinese mythology mended the sky by repairing a collapsed pillar holding it up, filling the cracks with five different colored rocks. On the day, some Hakkas in the north must stop what they are doing and take part in all sorts of activities to pay homage to Nuwa. Over time singing Hakka mountain songs on “Sky Mending Day” has become a custom in Hakka culture. According to the Hakka Affairs Council, Hakka mountain songs are the essence of Hakka culture. They are popular among Hakka populations in Guandong, Fujian, and Jiangxi in China, as well as in Taiwan. The songs are composed by singing and improvising and are representative of Hakka music.

Chang Yu-chen, a staffer in charge of the event at the Jhudong Township Office, told the Taipei Times that unlike mountain song contests held elsewhere, the one in Jhudong has kept strictly to classical Hakka tunes, without blending other music genres, in hopes of preserving the genuine tradition of Hakka tunes and passing them down from generation to generation. Last year the Hakka Affairs Council announced that “Sky Mending Day” would be National Hakka Day, but this move has upset most southern Hakkas who rarely celebrate “Sky Mending Day.” Nevertheless, the tradition of singing Hakka mountain songs on this day is undoubtedly part of Taiwan’s intangible cultural legacy.



1. genre n.

類型 (lei4 xing2)

例: Bob used to be a crime writer, until he changed genres and started writing comedy instead.


2. collapse v.

倒塌 (dao3 ta1)

例: The building had to be demolished after part of it collapsed in the earthquake.


3. undoubtedly adv.

無疑地 (wu2 yi2 de5)

例: Leaving this job is undoubtedly the most difficult decision I have ever had to make.






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