On Double Ten, the day which marks the Republic of China’s independence from the Qing Emporer, huge masses of people flocked to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial to witness a military display celebrating an anniversary of Nationalist rule. While Taiwan itself hasn’t been in its current form for 100 years, it is celebrated much more heavily here here than the mainland, where the date is foreshadowed by the 1949 Civil War.
It was nearly impossible to get a view of the main parade ground with the amount of people. For this reason, I stuck to the sides and got shots as the drill teams and bands came off and marched away. The day was beautiful for photography as it was a bit overcast but rather bright. The white tile ground acted as a huge reflector, which made things easy for me.
Monday was a bank holiday for Taiwan as “Double Ten” was observed. The holiday commemorates the Nationalist Chinese uprising known as the Wuchang Uprising, which sparked the separation from the Qing Dynasty and changed Chinese history forever.
Part of the celebration in Taiwan included a temple procession and inclusion of many, many figures of San Tai Zi (三太子), who as a folk god, has become a sort of national symbol for Taiwan. The images below show San Tai Zi costumes lined up for a later performance and temple procession.
Over the weekend, I visited a statue garden located at the mausoleum of the Republic of China’s president during the Civil War and the first president during what many will refer to as the “government in exile.”
For me, this site is proof that Taiwan is autonomous. Military police guard the tomb of Chiang Kai Shek regularly as visitors pay their respects to the site known as Cihu Mausoleum, or 慈湖陵寢.
Part of the property includes a museum and a statue garden including many statues of the same man. Apparently, it was required that all schools in Taiwan have the president’s statue until the DPP, or Democratic Progressive Party, came into power. When this rule was overturned, many statues were sent to this property. It gives the place kind of a surreal feeling. The same man – in many different statues…
This was taken at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial. I had remembered that I took it after visiting last weekend and hadn’t realized that it was never posted. It’s my favorite image of a trip I took to the memorial when family members visited me in Taiwan.
I was taking these images with no flash and with the firing mode on the camera set to silent. This allows me to take a very quiet shot and then release the shutter button to put the mirror back. Perfect for a ceremony such as this where cameras are questionable, anyway.
The last day of Taipei was spent going to one of the main cultural and political sites of the city, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. I had half-expected Falun Gong protesters as with Taipei 101 and pro-Tibet people as at the National Palace Museum, but I wonder if the revered sanctity of this place for Taiwanese keeps that from happening. Part of the experience is seeing a changing of the guard ceremony, much like we have in the US at Washington DC’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Some HDR is mixed in with the following. Click on each for a full-sized photo through Flickr.
(Notice the sweat on the guard’s face – the weather was pushing 100 degrees F/38 C)
…and an HDR to finish things off.