Hakka Yimin Festival celebrated in Taipei with parade, festivities

As part of the 2019 Taipei Hakka Yimin Festival that ran from Oct. 26 to 28, Hakka Affairs Council (HAC) Minister Lee Yung-de and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) joined a parade and attended a worshipping ceremony on Oct. 27.

Members of the Hakka communities from home and abroad formed over 140 groups that participated in the public procession, marching from Taipei City Hall through Main Plaza at the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

To commemorate the ancestral Hakka fighting spirit stemming from homeland defense, participants conducted many traditional practices such as escorting the statue of Yimin — the deity of martyrs — and carrying shoulder poles as well as giving out meals.

Upon arrival of the parade led by Minister Lee and Mayor Ko, the ceremonial event was ready to begin. Accompanied by Honorary President of the World Hakka Federation (世界客屬總會) Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄), Chairperson of Hakka Affairs Commission of Taipei City Government Xu Shi-xun (徐世勲), former Minister of Council of Agriculture Fan Chen-tsung (范振宗), and Chairman of Hsinchu Baozhong Yimin Temple (褒忠義民廟) Hsu Te-hsin (徐德馨), President Tsai Ing-wen officiated the ceremony by performing religious rites and praying for the nation’s prosperity.

President Tsai stated that as the festival upholds last edition’s traditions like a celebratory public procession, theater performances, and music concerts, it also connects all the Hakka settlements along Taiwan Romantic Route 3. She hopes that, through a series of cultural activities, the renaissance of Hakka culture and the revitalization of Hakka villages will elevate Hakka youths’ willingness to return to their hometowns. 

Minister Lee noted that the Hakka Yimin Festival has been held for more than 30 years, adding that the event’s Hakka traditions, which help the younger generations learn more about the spiritual roots of the Yimin Festival, have become a part of the city’s cultural landscapes. Lee thanked the Taipei City Government team for their concerted efforts in hosting Hakka festivities, for HAC will keep on striving to pass down Taiwan’s Hakka culture through cooperation with local governments.

The Minister explained that, under President Tsai’s administration, the Hakka language has been recognized as one of Taiwan’s national languages two years ago. Apart from the promotional campaigns and infrastructure projects relating to Taiwan Romantic Route 3, government policies on Hakka issues also include building a friendly Hakka-speaking environment in governmental institutions and establishing the project offices for Beautiful Liudui and Lively Provincial Highway 9 this year. Lee promised that, through resource integration of all ministries, HAC will play a significant role in optimizing the promotion of Hakka culture.