2016 Austronesian Cultural Festival Takes Place in Taiwan
Taiwan’s Taitung County Government organized the 117-day celebration to promote the diverse culture of the indigenous people
August 17th, 2016
Min-ni Wu, CD News
Walking into a convenience store in Taitung, you will be welcomed by greetings or music in aboriginal languages. You can go to a concert at a lake, dance in the park with Austronesian people to celebrate the harvest, or join a workshop to make your own embroidery or sculpture. Music, dance, food, traditional art works and celebration, Taitung provides you a perfect environment to get closer to the colorful and joyful Austronesian culture. As the government slogan proclaimed: “In here every day is the Austronesian Cultural Festival,” you can encounter different aboriginal cultural events almost every day.
Since the year 1999, Taiwan’s Taitung County Government has held the Austronesian Cultural Festival every two years to promote aboriginal culture. The celebration kicks off on August 6th this year and will last for 117 days. A series of performances and activities will take place to present Austronesian culture to the world. Combined with tourism, the festival this year hopes to bring the aboriginal tradition into daily life, letting visitors experience this culture through the five senses.
“The concept behind the festival is to restore aboriginal traditions to our daily life, rather than exist only in the form of performances,” County Magistrate Justin Huang pointed out at a press conference.
Taiwan is a nation with 16 aboriginal Austronesian ethnicities, and Taitung alone is home to seven of them. With the well-spread theory of Taiwan being the ancestral homeland of Austronesian people, Taitung is in particular viewed as home of indigenous culture. Located in the east of Taiwan and surrounded by both mountains and the ocean, it is already a main tourist attraction on the island. The government uses its diverse and fascinating cultural contents to further promote the county to the world.
The events this year feature the theme “Native Power,” and is centered around six main activities including “the Native Voices of Aborigines,” “the Artwork of Aborigines,” “Embroidery of a Hundred People,” “Art Bus of the Aborigines,” “Music and Dance Performance of Aborigine” and “Working Holiday in Aboriginal Tribes.” Among these, several activities are designed to be interactive so that visitors can participate and experience the daily life of indigenous people.
The 117-day festival is also combined with the Global Indigenous Peoples Performing Arts Festival, which is organized by Taiwan’s Cabinet-level Council of Indigenous Peoples. Dance teams from Australia, Malaysia, Tahiti, New Zealand, Hawaii, Fiji and Swaziland indigenous communities are invited to perform with local groups, to promote cultural exchange among Austronesian people and other indigenous groups.