The annual Taipei Yimin Festival started yesterday at the Taipei Hakka Culture Park, with over 3,000 members of the Hakka community from 25 Yimin temples around the nation gathering at the park to celebrate the traditional Hakka festivity, which is to run until Monday.
Amid traditional folk music and performances, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) presided over the god-seating ceremony to officially start the festival, as he called for continuous support from both the Hakka community and other participants in the event to promote Hakka culture.
“The Yimin Festival is one of the most important traditions for Hakka people, and through the annual festival, we invite the public to experience Hakka culture. For the Hakka community, it is important to pass on our heritage to the next generation via the event,” he said.
The festival also featured a “shoulder pole meal-giving” parade that showcased the Hakka spirit of sharing, interactive multimedia exhibits and 12 Hakka Festival shows, demonstrating the vitality of Hakka culture.
The title Yimin (“righteous people,” 義民) is an honorific title bestowed on the Hakka by the Qing Dynasty court for helping government forces put down an uprising in central Taiwan in the late 1780s.
The uprising resulted in the deaths of more than 200 people in Hsinchu, whose bodies were buried at the Sinpu-Fangliao Yimin Temple.
Taipei City’s Department of Hakka Affairs Commissioner Liu Chia-chun (劉佳均) said the Taipei Hakka Culture Park, which opened to the public last year, has become the main venue for various activities in celebration of Hakka culture.
The department intends to take advantage of the park to introduce Hakka culture to a wider audience, he said.
A Yimin god worship ceremony is to take place this morning at the park, followed by more parades and traditional Hakka performances.