Time to Marvel
by Lisa Anne Crawford
Whether it’s pop music, literature, theatre, opera, or even a hand puppet show, Taiwan has some serious culture. Guests and locals of this cultivated country love to experience the unique hand puppet shows with their brilliant narration and beautiful background music that bring each puppet to life. Popular shows include Yi Wan Ran, Wu Zhou Yuan and Xiao Xi Yuan, whose performances have received praise all over the world.
Many of the sites to see in Taiwan are those with historical backgrounds and are definitely worth a visit! Lugang is one such historic antique town that features various famous temples for guests to visit. Tian Hou Temple and Longshan Temple are two of the more well known and are absolutely stunning with their rich architecture, sculptures, and paintings. Another must-see in Taiwan is the Tainan Confucius Temple which is the first Confucius Temple in Taiwan and is over 300 years old!
If you are a fan of the arts and are looking to be entertained by one of Taiwan’s many amazing performers or are looking to fill an afternoon with gorgeous fine art, Taiwan has something that will fit your fancy. Performance Halls are readily available throughout many areas in Taiwan, just as there are many fabulous museums to stroll through. From the major performance halls like the National Theater and Concert Hall (NTCH) and the Taipei Arena, to pristine museums like the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts; you will be wowed by all that you see.
In Taiwan, one quarter of the population consider themselves descendants of the Hakka Culture. These immigrants come mainly from the Fujian and Guangdong provinces in Mainland China. Their belief is that “The two most admirable types are loyal subjects and dutiful children.” The Hakka people are known to be hard working and frugal and the women devote themselves to their families.
The constitution of Taiwan guarantees freedom of religion, so many Taiwanese people celebrate their religious beliefs freely. Buddhism and Taoism are the two main religions in the area. Many Chinese religions like, Tzu Chi and Fo Guang Shan are also practiced in Taiwan. No matter your belief, the people of Taiwan will welcome you.
The islands of Kinmen and Mezu became the military frontline of defense for Taiwan. However, after the Cold War, these islands became a symbol to remember all who have given their lives to save this great country. Some of the important things to notice to understand the battlefield history are Wind Lion God, a lion symbol that is usually placed on rooftops or entrance ways to “turn evil away” or the Battlefield Slogans that can be seen engraved on stone houses and remind the Taiwan people to “Fight for the final victory.”
Indigenous tribes in Taiwan account for about two percent of the population. It is an important reminder to see how Taiwan began to show it has grown as a society. Of the 14 tribes recognized by the Taiwan government, the Amis Tribe is the largest with a population of 200,000. These indigenous people are very talented and help make Taiwan what it is today: beautifully sophisticated and spectacularly traditional.
To keep up with the times, Taiwan has transformed many of its historic sites into culturally innovative and creative landmarks for artists and performers to thrive. A few of these areas to add to your itinerary are the Treasure Hill Artist Village, the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park and the Huashan 1914 Creative Park. You will be in awe of the impressive way in which Taiwan has combined old world history with new world innovation.