Hsinchu’s Hakka ancestral hall renovated to pass on cultural heritage to future generation

Hakka Affairs Council (HAC) Minister Yiong Con-ziin attended the opening ceremony of the Chang Family Ancestral Hall in Hsinchus Xinpu Township (新埔鎮) on Dec. 12. The ancestral hall, a county-level historical building where descendants of the Chang family worship their ancestors, was repaired and restored, and part of its space was turned into a “story house” for children.

Although the offspring of the Chang family still use the Hakka language while performing ceremonial rituals, Yiong expressed his concern about the future generation’s inability to speak their mother tongue. The minister stressed that the mother language is the most precious heritage for the elders to pass down to their successors.

Yiong hopes that through the restoration of the Chang Family Ancestral Hall, the Hakka language can be revived and will survive for future generations.

Established in 1868, the Chang Family Ancestral Hall is an exemplar of the traditional Hakka architecture. The architectural crafts of the building, including wood carving, stone carving, painting, and clay sculpture, are of immense artistic value. Under the Xinpu Ancestral Hall Museum program, the century-old building that bears the significance of the town’s history and memories of the long-established family has a new look through a series of restoration work.

Apart from providing many children’s books, the ancestral hall, part of which has been transformed into a children’s story house, also creates the environment for visitors to experience a variety of themes full of historical memories via modern interactive technologies.

HAC expects that, through the renovation of the historical building, the Chang Family Ancestral Hall will be a suitable space in the future for kids to read and speak in their mother language, injecting more cultural energy into the Hakka settlement in Hsinchu.