Taiwan, also known as Chinese Taipei and officially the Republic of China. It is an island of about 36,000 km 2, located off the coast of the Chinese province of Fujian, separated from it by the Taiwan Strait. To the north is the East China Sea and to the south the South China Sea, while the eastern coast of the island is washed by the Pacific Ocean. Since 1945, the island has been under the regime that ruled all of China until the triumph of the Revolution in 1949. Since then, the old Chinese regime has remained on the island of Taiwan, giving rise to a complex legal and diplomatic situation.
The island was named Ilha Formosa (‘beautiful island’) by Portuguese sailors. The name Formosa was used in the West until the 20th century. At present, both in Spanish and in other European languages, it is more common to use the Chinese name Taiwan (traditional Chinese: 臺灣 or 台灣, simplified Chinese: 台湾, Wade-Giles: T’ai-wan, pinyin: Táiwān, min del south: Tâi-oân). In Spanish, it is common to write this name with a tilde, Taiwan, according to its usual pronunciation in this language.
Taiwan offers a fascinating combination of Chinese culture and modern conveniences. There are old buildings and historical sites; temples dedicated to Buddhist, Taoist and folk deities as well as Confucius; a variety of museums; among them, the famous National Palace Museum with its valuable collection of Chinese art treasures; numerous places to dine and enjoy the most famous foods in the world; an infinite variety of folk arts and crafts, as well as very friendly and hospitable people.
Often undervalued, they have flourished and developed just as much as the finest samples of literature, poetry, and calligraphy.
This activity, dating back more than four hundred years, was originally a form of training for the aristocracy that later became widely known and became popular. Chinese spinning tops are spun by wrapping a rope around and pulling it as the spinning top is thrown to the ground. A famous group of tahsi fans, (taoyuan) have dedicated themselves to improving spinning top shapes and throwing techniques.
Bread crumb sculptures
Artisans skillfully knead an amorphous dough into realistic colored figurines that are used in temples during ghost festivals, mid-year, and other religious festivals; These figurines are also placed on a rod and sold on the streets as souvenirs or toys.
According to the historical record (SHIH CHI) of Ssu – machien, the kite was invented 1500 years ago. Chinese kites, made of bamboo and fine paper or silk, are characterized by their great variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Every weekend we can observe them in parks and recreation areas with the shapes of birds, insects or fish. Many traditional handicraft techniques are involved in the manufacture of kites, such as the manufacture of lanterns and umbrellas, and painting.
Until the invention of writing, the ancient Chinese used knotted strings to record events. This cumbersome system of remembering was abandoned with the advent of written characters; but the tradition survived as a popular art form and fascinating hobby. Like macramé, this Chinese art consists of making knots following geometric patterns, in which we find auspicious symbols and purely abstract motifs. It can be sandwiched into the lattice like coins, jades, using multi-colored stranded ropes, making Chinese knot creations excellent interior decorative items.
The Taiwan Opera
The Taiwan Opera or Ko-tsai hsi is a regional variety of Peking opera. It is believed that its origin is in the ballads (chic-Ho) of Changchow, in the province of Fukien. Part of the Ko-tsai hsi repertoire also comes from the traditional Ilan songs, a mixture of Fukien texts and Aboriginal music.
Puppet shows, in the min-man dialect, were one of the earliest forms of popular training in Taiwan. Skillful hand animation techniques, vocal imitations, and storytelling make these performances a fascinating spectacle. As in Peking opera, the action is accompanied by the sound of drums and gongs, but today, the background music is played on both Chinese and Western instruments.
Traditional shadow puppets and dolls have also survived to this day. Shows performed with doll shadows, which still retain a religious significance, are usually performed in summer to celebrate good harvests. Puppet shows, on the other hand, serve to attract blessings or to ward off evil spirits.
The party of the spring
The Chinese New Year marks the beginning of the lunar year. It is the time when families make sacrifices to ancestors and to a pantheon with a mix of Taoist and Buddhist deities. It is usual that the preparations for this landmark event take a whole month. The day before, rockets are launched to scare away evil spirits. Relatives and friends take the opportunity to greet each other during the first weeks of the new year.
The Farolito Festival
This festival known as yuan hsiao, takes place two weeks after the Chinese New Year. It begins with a fireworks display that marks the first full moon of the new year, and reaches its climax with a procession of lanterns up to three kilometers long. The participants walk in a special way, grouping the steps seven by seven or eight by eight, which makes the procession meander like a centipede. According to tradition, this is done to invoke the protective divinities, while the lanterns are the symbolic extension of the glorious Chinese past.
The Dragon Boat Festival
The Dragon Boat Festival (Tuan Wu) is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, which coincides with the beginning of summer and is considered an unlucky month. To drive out evil, multi-colored lanterns are lit, realgar wine is drunk, and purification ceremonies are performed with mugwort. Dragon boat races and tzung-tsu (rice balls wrapped in bamboo leaves) commemorate efforts to find Ch’u Yuan (died 290 BC), a patriotic poet.
The mid-autumn party
According to Shoppingpicks.net, the mid-autumn festival (Chung Ch’iu) takes place on the 15th of the eighth lunar month to celebrate the successful completion of the harvest. The great moon reaches a size on this day, which is why it is an outstanding symbol in all the celebrations related to this holiday.
Birth of Confucius
Confucius is revered as the greatest of the sages and model of humanity, so the date of his birth, September 28, is also Teacher’s Day, an official holiday in the ROC. In the early hours of the morning a solemn ceremony with dances, music and classical costumes is held in all the Confucian temples of the nation.
The Double Ten Party
On October 10, the 1911 Wuchangen uprising is celebrated, which led to the founding of the ROC. Activities on Double Ten Day include colorful parades and fireworks displays. The buildings, streets and squares are decorated with great color for the occasion. Social and cultural events are held.
Other national holidays
Other national holidays are the anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China (January 1), the Youth Day (March 29), the All Souls ‘ Day (April 4 on 6 April), the birth of Chang Kaichek (October 31), the birth of Sun-Yat-Sen (November 12) and Constitution Day (December 25).