2019 timeline of Hakka festivals in Taiwan

The year 2019 will offer a total of thirteen local Hakka festivals and other Hakka-themed cultural activities, which will be taking place from February to November across cities and towns in Taiwan.

Selected by the Hakka Affairs Council last year, the featured festivals include traditional festivals that embody significant Hakka culture and history as well as innovative festivals that will reinterpret local Hakka lifestyle from a cultural perspective.  

Initiated by the Council, the year-long festival program aims to discover local Hakka festivals and deepen community engagement in Hakka villages. It will present the Hakka spirit and highlight the value and characteristics of Taiwanese Hakka festivities, and push for the registration of Hakka customs and sites as national cultural heritage.

Featured festivals and events:

Dragon Bombing Festival

The Dragon Bombing Festival was held for the first time in 1998 by Miaoli City to revitalize traditional Hakka folk culture. As a Hakka version of the widely celebrated Lantern Festival, dragon-bombing activities such as Hakka dragon dances, lion dances, and temple arrays are performed during February in Miaoli. 

Xin Ding Ban Festival

Historically, Hakka people offered rice dishes to deities to pray for a baby. Today, the Xin Ding Ban Festival is held every February in Taichung not only to preserve this traditional Hakka custom, but also to encourage couples to have more children and promote gender equality. 

Liudui Defending the City Walls Festival

The Liudui Defending the City Walls Festival was established in Pingtung to offer insights into Hakka ancestors’ brave defense against enemies who tried to invade their homes during their early settlement in the Liudui region of southern Taiwan. It now takes place in several Hakka townships during February.

Zhudong Tian-Chuan Day Taiwan Hakka Folk Songs Singing Contest

Based in Hsinchu’s Zhudong Township, the singing contest is the oldest and largest contest of its kind in Taiwan. Every February, the event seeks to preserve Hakka culture by highlighting the cultural meaning of “Tian-Chuan Day,” i.e. National Hakka Day or Ripped Sky Festival, a traditional celebration that commemorates goddess Nüwa.

Liudui Games

Returning for its 54th edition this March, the Liudui Games commemorate the brave Hakka who safeguarded Hakka villages in the early days. The games also aim to encourage young Hakka people to return to Liudui to participate in local affairs and revive Hakka culture.

Hakka Tung Blossom Festival

Under the theme of Tung flowers, the annual festival presents the Hakka community’s respect and gratitude towards nature. The vitality of Tung flowers also reflects the Hakka people’s strong spirit. From April through June, taking a trip to Hakka villages for blossom-viewing and sightseeing is an absolute must.

Taichung Ciao Sheng Sian Shih Culture Festival

“Ciao Sheng Sian Shih” is the title bestowed to a historic pioneering craftsman named Lu Ban, who is worshiped as a deity by craftspeople and artisans today. The festival held in Taichung every May through June advocates his spirit and trade.

Yi-Wei Hakka War Cultural Festival

The Yi-Wei Hakka War Cultural Festival is held every May and June in Taoyuan to help the public learn about the brave “Yimin,” which refers to Hakka volunteers who formed militias to protect their hometowns during the Japanese invasion of Taiwan in 1895.

Battle of the King of Drummers

The Battle of the King of Drummers seeks to pass down Hakka folk culture by offering a platform during June or July in Hualien County for Hakka performance groups to practice and present their works.

Hakka Fishing Festival

To pass down the traditional skills of catching fish by using beach seines or stone ponds, which is one of the oldest fishing techniques in Taiwan, the Hakka Fishing Festival in Taoyuan offers seine-fishing opportunities, exhibitions, and tours to Hakka fishing villages during July.

Hsinchu Hakka Yimin Festival

Combined with the Xinpu-based Pear Festival, the Hakka Yimin Festival is held in August to help revive the traditional culture and arts of Hsinchu and commemorate the spirit of Yimin militias. It also seeks to boost local tourism and raise awareness of Hakka culture.

Zhao-an Hakka Festival

As an important October event of Hakka groups in Yunlin County, the Zhao-an Hakka Festival revitalizes the dwindling culture of “Zhao-an,” a Hakka group that originated from the Chinese province of Fujian. The festival offers tours to local cultural destinations associated with Zhao-an heritage.

Chenggong Festival

To promote the Hakka township of Guoxing in Nantou and its local customs, folk religion, and culture, the Chenggong Festival offers diverse events for visitors to experience Hakka culture and food and explore local cultural destinations every September. 

Rice Harvest Festival

During the Japanese colonial era, many Hakka people relocated to Taitung in eastern Taiwan to grow rice and other agricultural products. The Rice Harvest Festival in November helps the public understand that Hakka culture is also an important part of Taitung.

Hakka Wedding & Party

Since the first Hakka-themed wedding was held in Kaohsiung in 2013, the Hakka Wedding & Party has become an annual event that attracts Hakka and non-Hakka couples to hold their weddings together in November. Hakka customs, food, and music are presented during the event for the participants to learn about Hakka culture.