Home About Hualien Traditional Customs of Tribes in Hualien

Traditional Customs of Tribes in Hualien

Among indigenous celebrations staged in Hualien and Taitung, the Amis Harvest Festival is the best known. Each Amis village holds its own festival, on average spanning three days, in the middle of July for Taitung villages and in August for Hualien villages.

Villages also come together for collective harvest festivals. Participants dressed in traditional costume form a circle and dance to the chants of an elder. Some villages are very welcoming to tourists and may invite them into the dance circle. The Paiwan, Puyuma, and Rukai harvest festivals are also held during the summer.

Late in the year, usually in December, each Puyuma village holds a Monkey Festival in which males of the tribe - in the past - slaughtered a monkey as part of young braves' initiation into manhood. Today, grass replicas are used instead of monkeys.

At the end of April, the Bunun conduct their Ear Shooting Ceremony . This is a post-hunting season celebration. Its name comes from the practice of cutting off the ears of prey for the boys of the tribe to use as target practice in developing marksmanship.

There are also other ceremonies carried out throughout the year. For example, in Dongchang Village in Hualien's Jian Township there is a rich Amis shaman culture. Through a healing ceremony in which they communicate with the ancestral spirits, shamans identify and remove the causes of illness, usually negative forces that are creating an imbalance in the natural and supernatural worlds.