|Keira along for the ride at The Indigenous Peoples Culture Park|
Here is where we went:
The Taiwanese Indigenous Peoples Culture Park in Sandimen, Taiwan.
Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, located in a beautiful, steep, forested valley and offering interesting glimpses into the traditions and architecture of Taiwan's indigenous tribes. This kind of place wouldn't usually be at the top of my list of "must sees," but I found it quite pleasant to wander through the wooded hillsides with family.
|The traditional mushing of the goop.|
There are about 14 recognized indigenous tribes in Taiwan and each tribe was represented by a village in the park. There were places where you could try on traditional costumes, mush traditional goop (see photo), watch traditional dances, listen to traditional music and ride around in traditional trams. I think some of our family guides might have been a little bored with the park (most of them had been to the park quite a few times), but I think everyone enjoyed the walking in the nice weather (foggy and cool in the morning and a little toasty in the afternoon).
|The Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Taiwan|
Liudui Hakka Cultural Park, Pingtung, Taiwan
After the Indigenous Peoples Culture Park we visited a very different type of "Culture Park", in Pingtung. The Liudui Hakka Cultural Park was very modern and very, very new. Actually this was the first time any of the family members had ever visited it as it had opened only 3 months earlier.
Liudui roughly translates to "six camps" and is the collective name for the 12 townships in Pingtung County and Kaohsiung City that are inhabited mainly by people of Hakka ancestry. The park does an interesting job of combining Hakka traditions, culture and architecture with the modern concept of environmental protection. It's free to enter and there were tons of families wandering around checking it out. I don't think I learned as much at this park, but it was a very fun atmosphere. The flowers were amazing.
|Liudui Hakka Cultural Park, Pingtung, Taiwan|
|The Liudui Hakka Cultural Park|
On a different day trip up to Tainan we visited the Taitian Temple of Nan Kun Shen. This was my first visit to a Taiwanese Temple and it did not disappoint. First of all the place was absolutely packed for Lunar New Years. Secondly it was the noisiest, most frantic temple I have ever been in. When we arrived there was fire crackers being lit in the parking lot, music blaring, men shouting into loud speakers, car alarms beeping, and all matter of drums and percussion instruments being banged together. Peaceful no, interesting yes.
|The Taitian Temple of Nan Kun Shen|
During the Lunar New Year people come from all over to receive blessings from these deities and to honor the spirits of their ancestors. For a small donation you are sent to pass under the seat of the deity (a holy chair) and are given a stack of paper money or ghost money. After that you can head to the incinerators to burn your ghost money, thus sending it to the spirit world and honoring your ancestors. I think. Honestly, it was all very confusing.
Anyway, I loved it! However, it didn't take too long until we needed to retreat to the peace and quiet of the gardens. Here are some of the photos:
|Tossing the Ghost Money into the Incinerator|
|Fire Crackers outside The Taitian Temple of Nan Kun Shen|
The eel was great!
We also stopped in to visit Chihkan Tower,
|Wuchang Pavilion, part of Chihkan Tower, Tainan, Taiwan.|
The Kaohsiung Lantern Festival
|Kaohsiung Lantern Festival. The year of the Dragon.|
The lanterns line both sides of the Love River. Most of them are constructed by students (or folks helping the students, as the elementary student's lanterns seemed to be amongst the best). This being the first night, only a small portion of the lanterns were set up. We went back a few nights later and there were a heck of a lot more of them (photos to be posted soon).
|Post Fireworks Noodle Shop, Kaohsiung, Taiwan|
Going to Taiwan - Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Kaohsiung
Well that's it for this set. Stay tuned for more photos from Taiwan, coming soon. Here is a link to the slide show:
|Taiwan Trip - Sandimen, Pingtung, Tainan and the Kaohsiung Lantern Festival|