Kaohsiung's Abundance of Fall and Winter Festivals／秋冬遊高雄 正趣味！
Kaohsiung's Abundance of Fall and Winter Festivals
◎English translation: Peng Hsin-yi
◎Photos by Pao Chung-hui, Lee Shih-hao
Located on the southern Pacific Ocean Kaohsiung enjoys year-round sunshine. However, the weather is much more endearing in the autumn and winter months, when the relenting heat turns to ocean breeze. It is also the time of year when people can come and enjoy a number of traditional festivals. Festivities kick-off with the Lion Dance Festival and the Zuoying Folklore Festival. The Folklore Festival features a colorful lion-shaped giant lantern that is paraded through the streets and finally set on fire. Cultural events are always exciting and include traditional music, ritualistic bells and gongs and joyful cheers from the crowd.
There are also several aboriginal festivals during the autumn months, such as the Pingpu Siaolin Night Festival. The Mikong Ceremony is celebrated by the Kanakanavu tribe residing in the Namasia District and the Rukai of Duona Village in Maolin District which celebrate the Tapakadawane Ceremony, another type of harvest festival. In Gangshan District, there is a 200 year old festival dedicated to bamboo baskets. Kaohsiung is clearly a treasure trove of traditional festivals and culture.
However there have been many modern festivals that have been recently created and highlight modern art and culture. The Kaohsiung Film Festival began in 2000, but has already developed a reputation for being creative and edgy. The Film Festival also features Chinese characters which mix ancient and modern. Other modern festivals in Kaohsiung include the Bi-annual International Steel & Iron Sculpture Festival and the Container Art Festival and Kaohsiung's New Year's Eve Party. New Year's Eve is particularly exciting as it draws huge crowds and turns the streets into a public party with a backdrop of spectacular fireworks.
There are also many food festivals which include Gangshan's Mutton Festival, Mituo's Milkfish Festival, Meinong's White Jade Radish Festival, Lujhu's Tomato Festival, Yongan's Grouper Festival and Zihguan's Mullet Festival. Kaohsiung's maritime culture has produced a rich array of seasonal cuisines that enrich the taste buds and nourishes the soul.
Due to the vast number of festivals and Kaohsiung's mild winters, there has been an increase in Japanese tourists that particularly enjoy coming to Kaohsiung from September to November. Japanese tour groups offer a variety of agendas, for a variety of age ranges. The elderly seem to particularly enjoy Neimen for its religious and folk legends and famous Song Jiang Battle Array. No matter what age or nationality, Kaohsiung definately has something for everybody.