For the casual observer, once you’ve seen a few temples in Taiwan they all start looking similar. Intricate carvings, wall and ceiling paintings, statues of ferocious warriors and gentle deities – I started getting used to them. Obviously, once one starts studying Taiwanese worship and religion, different temples take on different meanings and one can appreciate them more, but I’m not there yet. So, now I generally drive by them without marvelling at these conspicuous looking structures in the otherwise drab small town landscape.
That is until I drove by this fierce looking specimen:
Continue reading ‘Giant red god temple, Toufen, Taiwan’
Published August 3, 2013
Tags: ancestor worship, chinese folklore, Ghost festival, ghost month, Ghost month Taiwan, ghosts, hungry ghosts, religion, religion and belief, Taiwan
Religion and belief in Taiwan are a mish mash of Buddhism, Taoism and traditional Chinese folklore. From what I’ve learned so far, some of the things that play a big role in traditional Taiwanese beliefs are ancestral worship, luck and ghosts. Like everywhere else, the younger generations are slowly letting go of a lot of the older beliefs, but Taiwan still has a lot of people who hold on to the traditions that they’ve grown up with. One such thing is Ghost month. Continue reading ‘Ghost Month in Taiwan’
Published July 29, 2013
Food and Drink , Places to see
Tags: Beipu, ground tea, hakka people, Hakka tea, Hsinchu county, Lei cha, pounded tea, Taiwan, tea, tea in Taiwan, traditional teas, 擂茶
Lei cha (擂茶) is a traditional Hakka drink that draws a lot of tourists to the small town of Beipu in Hsinchu county. Literally translated it means “ground” or “pounded” tea, but the name is misleading. When I think of drinking tea, I envision a relaxing, quiet time sipping away at a light beverage, but this isn’t the case with Lei cha. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Lei cha is a thick, heavily flavoured brew that will probably leave you more thirsty after you drink it. Continue reading ‘Lei-cha (擂茶), Beipu, Hsinchu County’
Remeber that time when you wanted a treehouse soooo bad? Nothing would be better than tromping around 20 feet up in the air with wood and walls around you..right? Well, I found the ultimate treehouse – one that all young kids would drool over and trade their mothers to own. And it’s located in the Anping district of Tainan city in southern Taiwan. Continue reading ‘The ultimate treehouse, Anping, Tainan’
Sun Yat-sen is a a revered figure in China as well as Taiwan – one of very few who can lay claim to this. He was a remarkable personage who was in a very large part responsible for the overthrow of the Qing dynasty (last of the Chinese dynasties) and imperialism in China. In the chaos of the aftermath, he was a unifiying figure. He also founded the Kuomintang (KMT) party which currently holds power in Taiwan. On this side of the Taiwan strait, he is known as the “Father of the Nation”.
To commemorate his memory, the Taiwanese government has erected the Sun Yat-sen memorial hall in Taipei. In Chinese (國立國父紀念館) it says National Father of the Nation memorial hall. A stone’s throw away from Taipei 101, this monument to the “Father of Taiwan” is pegged as a must see for all visitors. Continue reading ‘Sun Yat-sen Memorial hall, Taipei, Taiwan’
I never really paid much attention in science class (or any other class for that matter) at school, but one thing I definitely learned from my poor, long suffering teachers (I know how it was for all of you now, and you may be pleased to know that I’m undergoing the pain I put you thorough!!!) is that fire and water are incompatible elements – only one can rule in a given place at a given time. Too much water – flames get snuffed out. Too many flames – water evaporates. They simply cannot co-exist.
So, when I discovered that Taiwan has a place where this seemingly solid law of nature is flouted and the impossible exists, I had to see it. Which brought me to a small town called Guanziling, in Baihe district, Tainan county, southern Taiwan. Continue reading ‘Water-fire cave, Guanziling town, Baihe district, Tainan’
Another small town, day-trip location, Nanzhuang in Nantou county is nestled in a cocoon of natural surroundings. Once harbouring coal and forestry industries, Nanzhuang’s population shrunk when these declined and people left looking for work in the cities. Now, because of the fact that it has been virtually untouched, it’s a popular tourist destination.
Nanzhuang is primarily peopled by Hakkas. It also has a sprinkling of Atayal and Saisiyat peoples (Taiwanese aboriginals) up toward the mountains. Besides the serene natural scenery, Nanzhuang boasts an “old street”. Like so many others in Taiwan, it’s filled with all sorts of trinkets, food and relics from the past. Continue reading ‘Nanzhuang (南庄), Miaoli county’