Beipu’s Oil Bamboo Torch Festival on the 15th of Lunar New Year: Keeping Alive Our Forebears’ Love for the Homeland

The Oil Bamboo Torch Festival takes place on the 15th day of the first lunar month (Lunar New Year) every year and is a major annual event unique to Beipu, Hsinchu. Deputy Minister Chou Chiang-chieh of the Hakka Affairs Council (HAC) visited the Beipu Citian Temple on January 31 to attend the event, kickstarting the “fire dragon” for the annual Hakka festivity.

Deputy Minister Chou stated that the traditional oil bamboo torch custom of Beipu symbolizes the Hakka legacy of love for the land and nation. Giong Seu-zu of Beipu, Hsinchu was one such notable individual who sacrificed his life for the homeland. The traditional Oil Bamboo Torch Festival originated in the Japanese colonial era. Concerned that their control would be threatened by the influential power of Beipu at the time, they built a straight road behind the Citian Temple in an attempt to break away the “dragon vein”—a major energy channel according to Feng Shui—running through Beipu. After the retreat of the Republic of China government to Taiwan, wishing to restore such “dragon vein”, the Beipu locals took the initiative to cross the mountain of Xiuluan holding bamboo oil torches, forming a “fire dragon” with their procession. The action turned into a custom and cultural activity passed down across generations of Hakka people in Beipu, a shared memory of all locals.

This year’s Oil Bamboo Torch Festival is taking place for two consecutive days, from February 24 to 25. An easygoing tour across the mountain is scheduled for the morning of the first day. By afternoon, people can try a DIY experience of bamboo oil torches and, for the first time this year, a game of solving Hakka lantern riddles. After marching across Xiuluan mountain with the torches at night, participants will be able to enjoy a dazzling cube juggling performance and fire dance by globally-renowned troupe Circus Gate. Additionally, a photography competition for the Oil Bamboo Torch Festival is being held this year, with the top prize amounting to NT$15,000.

On the second day, a rice food market and leisurely outdoor concert are scheduled at the Teng Nan-kuang Photography Memorial Museum. WOW SAX, a saxophone ensemble formed by AUO Corporation’s Chairman, will delight visitors with their program while they enjoy a variety of local rice delicacies. Welcome to visit Beipu and experience the warmth and vibrancy of Hakka villages together. For more details on the event, visit the Beipu Township Office Facebook fanpage.