This is the last post in a series about the Hakka Yimin festival, an event which takes place every year to honor ancestors who fought in a military struggle against certain rebel factions in Taiwan. It is celebrated by the Taiwanese Hakka community and coincides with Ghost Month. These are from a special performance put on in Jhubei and heavily funded – every ticket was free.
The above three photos show a show being put on by firethrowers. While much of it was hard to shoot, I was able to get a relatively nice set of shots on a set shutter speed with a high ISO. Notice how still the man holding the hoop is. I’d be thankful for that if I had to jump through!
The above two shots were taken during separate dances. The dance in the top picture included elaborate and quite crazy costumes and was actually quite hard to capture at 300mm without an f/2.8 lens. The bottom picture was not as hard, as there was less movement.
This aerial silk artist was also posted on this blog the first time I posted shots from this festival. My favorite shot from this series can be found in the first post.
As usual, Taigu (太鼓), or as the Japanese say, Taiko, drummers were a big part of the celebration. I’ve been able to get better photos due to the bad angles I had, but loved the dramatic lighting.
These shots are from the past few weeks during Ghost Month and Yimin Festival. Ghost Month recently ended (and yes, I think I got the date right this time!) which usually signifies the beginning of the school year and the end of summer. While I don’t look forward to the weather changing, I’m excited about starting a new year.
These cards are used for divination or fortune-telling. You roll a certain number, match it with the card, and see what the gods have to tell you. Found at Yimin Temple.
Above left: an altar for ghosts at a Jhubei restaurant. Above right: a scooter drives pass a burning of “ghost money,” meant to be given to the ancestors.
Above: these guys were lighting fireworks out the back of a truck – unfortunately, I only got the end of it with the camera.
Above: a San Tai Zi (三太子) god with what look like “Mickey Mouse” gloves.
I have been posting about the Hakka Yimin Festival, which I referred to in a previous post. The second part to this festival was last weekend, and it involves a mix between “Ghost Month” festivities and a chance to remember a series of Hakka military victories in Taiwan.
These are from the Yimin temple as well as neighboring communities, which host loosely organized events throughout the countryside in this part of northern Taiwan. Many of these displays are brought together by the community and wealthier benefactors will help in paying for some performances. A major part of the festival is the sacrificial pig, or “pigs,” which after being butchered and cut are presented as altar-type displays in the streets. Competitions between displays occur, and some people will go to great lengths to make their altar seen.
In addition to these displays are Chinese opera performances as well as female singers on karaoke-style stages.
These are shots from last weekend at Yimin Temple, Hsinpu, Taiwan. Ghost Month just
ended passed its halfway mark and a major holiday around this time is the Yimin Hakka Festival, a time of remembering ancestors who fought a series of military victories in Taiwan. You can see more about the history of the festival on Culture.TW.
Unfortunatley, I caught the tail end of the Yimin celebration. The main altar for the temple which honors the ancestors was being carried out with much fanfare to go to nearby Jhubei for a large concert.
Above left: A woman takes part in an aerial silk show during the Jhubei concert. A large altar was set up for this performance and aimed at honoring the ancestors’ visit from the temple. This show was full of huge extravagant performances and was completely free for those in attendance – I was lucky enough to get a good spot with the 70-300mm. Above right: Ghost money at Yimin temple, used to burn and offer spiritual “money” to the deceased. This is very common during Ghost Month but also can be seen year-round. The notes usually have a Chinese king with ridiculously high denominations (perhaps 1,000,000) on the bills.
Tonight, I will be taking shots for part two of this post. There will be a contest for a sacrificial pig which will be put on display tonight at the temple. I am looking forward to seeing this as I missed it last year. Notice in the background of the incense above, the pigs put on display. These pigs were actually made out of noodles, interestingly enough – an obvious connection to tonight’s ceremony.
Yuling and I arrived to the Yimin Temple celebration of the Ghost Festival on Friday anticipating some pork. Well, at least what will become pork.
At the temple, a pig (yes, a whole pig) is offered to the ghosts and gods in order to bless the town and appease the ancestors. While this food source is NOT wasted (Chinese food rarely is!), its head is put on display for a time. We missed this event as we were too early, but managed to capture some temple music meant to entertain the spirits that walk the earth during ghost month.
The first thing I noticed was a stage to the side with a Chinese Opera performance. This is pretty common during ghost month as it is believed to “entertain” the ancestors.
The performance, I later learned, represents a distinct brand of Chinese opera here in Taiwan. Taiwanese opera has its own style – and is much different than the varieties you’ll see in Hong Kong, Shanghai, or (especially) Beijing – where it is known as “Peking” opera… by the former Westernization of the capital’s name.
The above jar of sticks are 求籤, or (Cantonese) Kau Cim. I’m not sure what the Mandarin translation is, but I remember seeing them at Hong Kong’s Wong Tai Sin temple.
The above photos show some temple musicians playing a call for the gods to join the ceremony at the temple. I was joined as a photographer by a large cadre of locals with DSLR cameras – I’m guessing they were covering the temple’s preparations for the event.
The instrument in the first photo is a Suona, as covered in one of my earlier posts. You can listen to the unmistakable sound it makes it at the Youtube video I posted there.