Sat, Jul 13, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Two-month Hakka festival to celebrate revitalization efforts

Staff writer, with CNA

A two-month festival featuring more than 100 Hakka-themed events is to showcase the results of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) policy of revitalizing Hakka culture, the organizers said on Thursday.

The soft opening is to be held on Sept. 21 on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building in Taipei with a display of installation art that incorporates items associated with Hakka culture, such as persimmons and rice straw, the Hakka Affairs Council said.

About 10 art exhibitions, 11 performances and 100 explorative cultural activities are to be presented in Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli and Taichung, the council said.

Some of the events, including an exhibition at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park (松山文創園區) in Taipei, are to target younger audiences, Department of Industrial Economy Director Chiang Ching-sung (江清松) said.

“We want to show them that traditional Hakka culture is not as old as they might think,” Chiang said.

The idea of reviving and promoting Hakka culture was put forth by Tsai during her presidential campaign in 2012, when she proposed designating the 438.7km Provincial Highway No. 3 from Taipei to Pingtung as “Hakka Romantic Avenue.”

Since Tsai took office in 2016, about NT$26.47 billion (US$851.6 million) has been allocated to the project, which requires government agencies to improve infrastructure, renovate historical sites, assist local industries and boost tourism along the route, with the ultimate goal of revitalizing Hakka culture, the council said.

As of 2017, Hakka people comprised 19.3 percent of the total population, making it the second-largest ethnic group, council statistics showed.

The population is concentrated mainly in Hsinchu County (73.6 percent), followed by Miaoli County (64.3 percent), Taoyuan (40.5 percent), Hsinchu City (34.5 percent) and Hualien County (32.4 percent), a council report said.

Meanwhile, Raknus Selu Trail, which runs through several Hakka communities near Provincial Highway No. 3, is in November to exchange emblems with South Korea’s Olle Trail to display on their respective signs, Chiang said.

“We are hoping this arrangement will help raise the international profile of Raknus Selu Trail,” he said.

The exchange is to be carried out under a memorandum of understanding signed between the two sides last year to form a “sister trail” partnership, he added.

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