Sat, Feb 19, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Annual festival celebrates Hakka culture

CULTURAL HERITAGE Taipei County's annual Folk Festival starts today in Sanjhih, and will feature Hakka food, music and drama, with free bus service provided

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Students from Sanjhih Elementary School's Hsueh Wan Jan Puppet Theater hold up some of their puppets. The students will perform at the Taipei County Folk Festival, including the opening ceremony today.

PHOTO: TAIPEI COUNTY CULTURAL AFFAIRS BUREAU

The annual Taipei County Folk Festival began yesterday with a lantern-lighting event in Sanjhih township.

With the theme of celebrating Hakka heritage, the festival hopes to encourage people to explore Hakka culture, the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Taipei County Government said during a meeting with the press earlier this week.

Today's opening ceremony at the Sanjhih Cultural and Historical Relics Center, will feature Hakka folk songs presented by the Sanjhih Hedychium Coronarium Koenig Chorus, a puppet show performed by the Hsueh Wan Jan Puppet Theater of Sanjhih Elementary School and Hakka crafts and historical documents exhibitions.

"Hakka people make up 40 percent of Sanjhih's population. By highlighting Hakka culture, we aim to provide a creative and culturally rich way for people to celebrate the New Year," said bureau chief Lin Po-yu (林柏佑), commenting on the choice of Hakka culture as the focus of the festival.

Lin said that the festival, which has been held in Banciao for the past six years, is designed to promote the various traditional cultures in Taipei County. By taking this year's festival to Sanjhih, he hopes the events will help people better understand the Hakka culture.

To draw more people to the festival, the bureau is providing free bus service to the event from Hongshulin MRT station. The service will run from 9am to 2:30pm today and tomorrow.

In addition to various activities, visitors can also enjoy traditional Hakka food such as Hakka mochi and rice cakes during the festival. The event runs through Feb. 23, and is open from 10am to 5pm.

Festival preparatory committee member Allen Chou (周正義) said that Hakka culture is well-preserved in Sanjhih, given its large Hakka community. At a time when Hakka culture is disappearing, the festival can raise awareness about the importance of preserving traditions.

"There are quite a lot of Hakka people residing in Taipei. However, only Sanjhih has a Hakka community that still lives in the traditional Hakka way. We hope the festival will make people appreciate Hakka culture more," he said.

The festival will end with a lantern riddle activity on Feb. 23 in front of Ming Zhu Kong Wang Temple in Sanjhih township to celebrate the annual Lantern Festival.

For more information about festival activities, visit the festival's Web page at: http://www.tpc.gov.tw/post/action/2005year_festival/action.htm or call the Sanjhih Township Office at (02) 2636-2111.

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