There are twelve aboriginal tribes in Taiwan; the Atayal, the Amis, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Bunun, Kavalan, Thao, Truku, Tsou, Saisiyat and Yami. Boasting different culture, language, lifestyle and even folklore, each of these aboriginal tribes still survive until these days. If you’re visiting Taiwan soon, it is advisable to spend your time in trying to discover and experience the unique cultures and festivals of the people. The colorful and beautiful headdresses and costumes, the unique traditional songs and dances, are all the things that can easily attract the visitors to learn their lifestyles.
According to the experts, the aboriginal tribes in Taiwan have been around since the last 15,000 years and are said to travel from Southern of China over the water around 3,000 BC. However, that’s not the only theory we can hear about the people because some other sources stated that the ancestral homeland of all the Austronesian tribes are currently scarred all over the Pacific. Even though there is no exact fact about where these people really came from, what is more important is the present moment and the fact that Taiwan is one of the places you will really need to visit in order to experience the customs of the people of Austronesian tribes with age-old cultures, rituals and festivals.(image by Ma Poupoule)
Miaoli and Hsinchu are the dwelling places of the Saisiyat, the Thao mostly live in Nantou, the Chiayi’s Alishan area are famously known as the place of the Tsou people, the Rukai in Taitung and Kaohsiung, toward the Southern end of the Central Mountain Range is where the Paiwan lives, the Puyuma dwells in the Southern valley of Taitung, the middle part of the Central Mountain Range is where you can find the Bunun, the Amis happily living in Hualien and Taitung, in the mountain areas of mid to the Northern of Taiwan the Atayal can be found living there, the Kavalan live in Hualien and Taitung with the Amis, the Truku is residing in the Taroko Gorge area, and the only only oceanic tribe of Taiwan, the Yami is living on the Lanyu Island.
Just like the Naga people of the Nagaland in India celebrating their yearly Hornbill Festival, the aboriginal tribes in Taiwan also celebrate inter-tribal festival every year. The Festival of Austronesian and Formosa Cultures is held every July in Taitung. The main themes of the festival are fabric dyeing and weaving, and it aims to display and explore the techniques of weaving and dyeing of the Austronesian and Formosan tribes. Visitors will be able to watch the unique dances and listen to folk songs during this festival which usually last for about two weeks. The ceremony usually ends with performance of songs and dances by each tribe’s members who all dressed up beautifully in their traditional costumes. Millet wine and wild boar meat are all being served throughout the ceremony for everyone to enjoy.(image by Howard Koons)
If you’re visiting Taiwan in the near future, it is always a good choice to spend a few days or even the whole two weeks especially during the festival taking place in Taitung. You will be able to witness one of the age-old cultures in the world where you can hear the fascinating tales of every tribe, learn the ritual and study the artifact of the aboriginal tribes in Taiwan. It will be the best kind of vacation you will ever experienced!
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Feature image 植然 范