With deafening drums and horns, thousands of members of the Hakka community from 20 Yimin Temples from around the world joined together in Taipei yesterday to begin the Taipei Hakka Yimin Festival.
The event, which runs through today, marks the 20th anniversary of the festival organized by Taipei City's Hakka Affairs Department.
Presiding over the events and placing temple gods on the altar, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (
"The city government has treated the Yimin Festival as one of the major cultural assets of Taipei City and we will definitely put greater efforts into promoting Hakka culture," Hau said during a ceremony in front of the Taipei City Hall.
A total of 20 "divine pigs" -- prepared by different Hakka groups with edible rice pudding or recycled materials including bamboo baskets, wood, newspapers and black buttons -- were featured in the ceremony.
Hakka community members also shouldered bamboo poles hung with sacrificial offerings to the god of the Yimin (righteous people, 義民), a title that the Qing dynasty bestowed upon Hakkas who helped the Qing government put down an armed uprising led by Hoklos in the 1700s.
The uprising led to more than 200 casualties in Hsinchu and the bodies were buried at the Sinpu-Fangliao Yimin Temple.
In an effort to recognize the contributions of their ancestors, the Hakka community began to hold a ceremony in memory of the Yimin on the 20th of the seventh month of the lunar calendar.
Lee Rong-tang (
The festival, featuring Hakka folk song and dance performances and traditional snacks, will continue today in front of Taipei City Hall.