Top Five Cultural Experience in Taiwan

When you come to Taiwan, you’ve searched online and knew that Taiwan is an island of food. So, don’t miss the night market in Taiwan. Here’s the must-visit night market with different characteristics. In Northern Taiwan, there is Raohe, Huaxi Street, and Ningxia, and Shilin Night Market. Don’t miss the shaved ice, Taiwanese sausage with sticky rice, and fried chicken. The mango shaved ice is your best friend in summer to get rid of the hot temperature. Also, don’t miss the sausage with sticky rice大腸包小腸, which means the small intestine in the big intestine. Fried chicken is also a must-eat item in Taiwan, especially on the street.

taiwanese sausage with sticky rice closeup at night market

Apart from food, you can play games in night markets like pinball games, ring toss, balloon darts. In southern and eastern Taiwan, there are Luodong, Dongdamen, and Huayuan Night market. Also, after hanging out, don’t forget to find some foot massage around the night market to relax your body. If you are interested in fortune telling, there are also fortune teller stalls to talk about your future.

Another element of Taiwanese Culture is the temple. You can see temples everywhere like the village deity. When you come to Taipei, don’t forget to visit Longshan Temple, where people pray safety and love. The Yuelao (Love God) in Longshan temple is responsible for a good relationship between lovers. The nearby district is full of Taiwan history atmosphere and treasure—Mengjia. Don’t miss the Bopiliao Old Street for its unique historical stories.

When you come to Taiwan, never forget to try our tea. The tea ceremony is a very important cultural element in Taiwan. For those who love Oolong tea, Dongfang Meiren, also called Champagne Oolong, is highly recommended for its fruity aromas. Because plates squeeze against one another here, there are many high mountains in Taiwan. Taiwan high-mountain tea is of high quality because of the cool and misty climate all year. For the black tea lovers, Sun Moon Lake Ruby 18 Black Tea is the best in Taiwan because of its silky and smooth taste. Try to brew tea like a local Taiwanese in Dadaocheng, where much historical architecture is located. Feel and taste a sip of Taiwan culture.

In winter, Taiwanese love to soak in the hot spring in winter to boost circulation and detox. Most visitors like to go to Beitou for hot spring because it is near Taipei and has a historical trace of Japanese colonial Empire in the 1900s. After having a hot spring, you can also visit the Beitou Hot Springs Museum, which is a warm red-brick Japanese architecture.

Last but not least, taking a stroll in the old streets is the most unique cultural experience in Taiwan to feel how Taiwanese live. Near Dadaocheng, Dihua Street is the most visited old street. It preserves the old prosperous city appearance of colonial Japan times. It is also New Year Shopping Street full of the traditional New Year items. Another old street in Taipei is Tamshui Old Street. Tamshui Old Street is famous for its beautiful river-side view and delicious A-gei. Apart from the river side, mountain scenery is also tourists’ favorite. Jiufen Old Street is known for its humanistic and cultural experience. You can try taro-ball here, and feel the mountain town atmosphere. For those who love ceramics, Sanxia Old Street is recommended for ceramics making and buying. If you want to experience the southern Min culture, never miss the Lukang Old Street in Changhua. Tourists love the classic overhangs of architecture and humanistic ambience most. And in Anping Old Street, you can try the hand puppet, fresh fruit, and coffin bread here.

If you plan to visit Taiwan, don’t forget to try the aforementioned five major Taiwan experience. It will definitely help you experience deeper and learn more about Taiwan.

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Dajia Mazu Pilgrimage

There are diverse religions practiced in Taiwan like Buddism, Taoism, Christianity, Catholicism, and Islam. According to an unofficial estimate, Mazu believers are up to 140millions, which covers more than 60 percent of the population in Taiwan. Dajia Mazu pilgrimage is the biggest Mazu celebration held annually and has the longest history in Taiwan.

Taiwan has the highest density of Mazu temples with more than 850 temples. In Taiwan, we have the saying goes; “Mazu March Mania” Mazu is a Chinese goddess the sea. In the 18th century, many Fujian immigrants moved to Taiwan by crossing the dangerous Taiwan Strait. To thank Mazu for arriving Taiwan safely, the believers hold the Mazu pilgrimage. In this devotion journey, pilgrims escort the Mazu statue by holding palanquin walking around different cities to celebrate Mazu’s birthday in March of Chinese lunar calendar and hope the Mazu will protect them for the whole new year. This year, people will start this celebration from April 7th to 16th. The pilgrimage route will start from Dajia, Taichung, Changhua, Chiayi, to Yunlin, and return to Dajia.

In the Departure of the Procession, the Dajia Zhenlan temple will hold a firework show around Dajia River. With the noise of firecrackers and vibrant firework show in the sky, this eight-lane bridge will be jam-packed with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and spectators. After this ceremony, the pilgrimage officially starts. Along with this journey, you can find the warmth and friendliness from Taiwanese. Local residents provide free foods and drinks to followers like herbal cake with sliced radish, mochi, and grass jelly. Also, you can experience the Roadside banquet of Taiwanese cuisine. But please mark that the provided food is vegetarian. Followers can’t eat meat until the return route. If you want to participate in the pilgrimage, you can start eating vegetarian food three days before.

In this journey of devotion, you can experience the local color of Taiwan like lion dance, Taiwanese Electric Flower Car, glove puppetry, and Taiwanese opera. This long-lived religious event also develops a unique culture—grabbing Mazu. According to the legend, crawling under and touching the palanquin will bring good luck for a whole new year. Therefore, local groups grab Mazu for attracting good luck for its community in Changhua.

For those who want to have an in-depth tour in Taiwan, Dajia Mazu pilgrimage can definitely meet your satisfaction to learn Taiwan local culture. If you want to join this celebration, don’t forget to have the blessed flag along the pilgrimage and have the temple stamp on it. Apart from the aforementioned information, please find out and follow etiquettes before you take part in this religious event. To have a more detailed travel plan that suits your traveling date, Justaiwantour also provides custom tours. Have fun in this inspiring culture journey.

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How to Send Good Blessings for Pig Year in 2019

2019 is the year of pig. How to send good blessings regarding “pig” ? The most common one is the blessing with similar pronunciation-zhu shi chi shan(諸事吉祥), which the first word sounds similar to pig. It means “wish you lucky.” As for zhu shi ru yi(豬柿如意,) this means “wish you all the best.” These two phrases come from the famous Chinese four-word-idiom. In addition, the first word of “zhu” from zhu fu ni (豬福你,) which means good luck to you, sounds similar to pig in Chinese. The tip is to use the Chinese word “zhu豬” to make up phrases of blessings. But be careful! These kinds of blessings are more suitable for the same generation or those who are humorous. If you want to send blessings to your boss or supervisor, you got to be more discreet, especially the blessing regarding to “pigs”.

The Story of Pig:

In Asia, there are 12 animal’s symbols for different year according to lunar calendar. The pig ranks last. In one of the fables, the pig swam over the river during the competition. Even though it ranked last, it could be seen as an animal with true sportsmanship. From another stories, it was quite another story. It was said the pig was questioned for cheating so it was sentenced to the last one.

Who was Born in Pig Year?

The famous director, Sir Alfred Hitchcock, the Hollywood actor, Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger, and the founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford were all born in pig year.

The last pig year was in 2007. HSR in Taiwan was just open to traffic. IPhone 1.0 was first launched. 12 years have passed. Time and environment have changed. No matter what kind of person you were in the last pig year, seize this pig year and make the best of you!

Happy the year of Pig. (豬年大吉)

Wish you lots of luck for the Pig year. (祝你豬年幸運)

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Dragon Boat Festival

Food always comes first for Taiwanese people. The must-eat food during the festival is sticky rice buns or some people might call them sticky rice dumplings.

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People put sticky rice, pork belly, salted egg yolk, boiled peanuts and all kinds of other delicious ingredients inside bamboo leaves, and wrap up with a string.

You can be creative with different sauces when you eat them!

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If you happen to have some friends visiting Taiwan during the festival, you will have to take them to the dragon boat race, since it’s what this annual celebration is mostly known for.

The dragon boat is simply a big boat designed to look like a dragon. The first boat that gets the flag wins the race. Competitors from all over the world come here just for the race and take part in the celebration.

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That’s How Do Taiwanese Celebrate Lantern Festival?

In Taiwan, there are various ways of celebrating Lantern Festival. In the early stage, Taiwanese used to hold lanterns on this holiday. Several local temples even organize lantern fairs to attract visitors and believers. Nowadays, these fairs become a national activity.

“Hold Lanterns & Enjoy Colorful Lanterns”

Lanterns are made of thin bamboo and steel wire as framework. After completing the framework, they will be stuck and covered by paper, plastic or gauze. Inside them, candles will be put to lighten the lanterns. Every year, a few days before and after this holiday, houses, buildings and temples will be decorated with various lanterns, which is gorgeous.

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“Guess Riddles”

People write riddles on the lanterns and let people to guess the answers. Whenever the participants guess right, they will be given presents.

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“Eat Rice Dumplings”

Rice dumpling is a famous delicacy in Taiwan. It’s round, soft and chewy, which also represents gathering and happiness.

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          “Lantern Festival”

Lantern Festival is a national holiday. Every year, there are lots of beautiful lanterns that attracts visitors. Lantern Festival this year will take place at Southern Branch of National Palace Museum in Chiayi from Mar. 3rd to Mar. 11th.

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Watch the video → 2018 Taiwan Lantern Festival in Chiayi518_1920X1080

Taiwanese Temple Culture

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When you’re in Taiwan, you may see temples almost everywhere. There are more than 15,000 official temples in Taiwan. Isn’t it crazy? Temples play an important role in Taiwanese religious culture. We see temples not only a place to worship gods and goddesses but also a community center to interact with others.

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Once in a while, there will be temple fairs for celebration of gods’ or goddesses’ birthday. At this moment, you will see a bunch of people walking on the street, playing Chinese instruments, and dressed in puppets of gods. All kinds of decorated trucks follow this parade, and sometimes there will be hot girls dancing and singing on the trucks to invigorate the party. Temple fairs are full of colorful and interesting things to explore. But you got to have luck to witness temple fairs, because it’s not held very often.

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If you want to know more about temple culture, come and join our temple culture tour for more intriguing stories. Justaiwantour will guide you through gorgeous temples in Taiwan.

Join our tour & explore more stories :  Temple Culture Tour

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Moon Festival Is Coming Soon

What is Moon Festival?

Moon Festival is also called Mid-Autumn Festival, which is one of the most famous festivals in Taiwan. On this day, families and relatives gather, eat moon cakes, and barbecue together.

Actually, long time ago, there was a time people couldn’t bear the rule of the government. A brave man, Zhu Yuanzhang, came up with a brilliant idea and stuffed hiding notes with “Uprise on the night of August 15th” in mooncakes, which made it easier to pass messages and successfully staged an uprising. Since then, eating moon cakes has been a custom on Mid-Autumn Festival. What really interesting is that typical moon cakes are round, and round sounds similar to gathering and reunion in Mandarin.

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On last Saturday, to celebrate the up-coming festival, we organized a day tour for foreign visitors from all over the world. The bakers at Guo Yuanyi Museum of Cake and Pastry taught them how to knead the dough, stuff the sweet fillings in the moon cakes.

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After that, they also enjoy their tea time and pastry. They mentioned that they had so much fun there.

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What’s more, they put on traditional Chinese costumes, acting like the brides and grooms. It seemed like they travel back in time, which is so cool.

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How to Make Moon Cakes?

FOR THE DOUGH

  1. Mix the golden syrup, alkaline water and oil well. Sift in the flour. Knead into a dough. Cover with film wrap and rest for 40 minutes.
  2. Mix egg yolks with wine.
  3. Cut into 12 equal portions.
    Photo Credits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mn_Xdmp9iyI

     

    FOR THE EGG WASH

    1. Whisk the egg yolk with the egg white. Sift through a fine sieve.
      Photo Credits: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-an-Egg-Wash
      Photo Credits: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-an-Egg-Wash

      FOR THE FILLING

      1. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a small ball shape.
      2. Place the egg yolk inside and roll and shape into a ball.
      3. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 to 12 minutes.
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        Photo Credits: https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E6%9C%88%E9%A5%BC/248376

        Of course, you probably can not make such  beautiful shape of moon cakes. And what you need is a moon cake master.

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