Thousands of visitors are expected to climb mountain trails to admire tung tree blossoms after the launch of the Hakka Tung Blossom Festival yesterday.
The annual festival celebrates white tung blossoms — often described as “April snow” or “May snow” — and the cultural heritage of Taiwan’s Hakka community, which makes up about 15 percent of the population.
Organized by the Hakka Affairs Council, activities are set to take place across the nation, with performances featuring traditional Hakka arts scheduled through May 17.
Photo: Huang Shu-lee, Taipei Times
The festival is also an opportunity to promote cultural tourism, Hakka handicrafts and traditional cuisine, the council said, adding that tourists are invited to visit the 108 designated tung blossom hiking trails in 14 counties and cities.
Widely found in hilly terrain across the nation, tung trees have been used as a symbol of Hakka culture since the first Tung Blossom Festival in 2002.
Tung seeds, the key ingredient for tung oil, were harvested as an important economic crop among Hakka mountain villages in northern Taiwan, as they are used in the production of paper umbrellas as well as wood varnishing and paint products.
In addition to events in the Hakka heartland of Hsinchu and Miaoli counties, activities are also set to take place in areas that are less well known for Hakka culture, such as Nantou County and Yunlin County.
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