2017 Hsinchu County Yimin Festival kicked off at Xinpu Yimin Temple on September 9th. In the morning, 15 groups, 666 people in total, had a creative parade from Baozhong Bridge to Xinpu Yimin Temple, where they gathered and performed to show highest respect for Yimin Ye. Lai Ching-te, the newly appointed Premier, made Yimin Festival the first public event he participated in after his inauguration. Premier Lai’s presence showed the government’s regard for Hakka culture. At the temple, several games were set up for visitors, especially for children, to make them know more about the history and origin of Yimin Festival. Magistrate Chiu Ching-chun also gave away talismans in person to people on the spot.
In the afternoon, the “2017 Warrior Road Running” was held, attracting 3,000 Taiwanese and foreign runners. Not only could participants enjoy the breathtaking bucolic landscapes along the route, but they could also regain their energy at the supply stations, which provided delicious local Hakka food. To strengthen the connection between Yimin culture and running, representatives from 38 Yimin temples all over Taiwan were also invited to join in a relay race, making the festivity even more thrilling. In the evening, there were a lot of splendid performances that drew great attentions at the “Hakka Yimin Evening Party.” What’s more, many vendors were selling Hsinchu County’s unique agricultural products at the same time.
On September 10th, the worship ceremony started off in front of Xinpu Yimin Temple with thunderous bangs of firecrackers. In early times, the contest of sacred pigs or sacred goats represented Hakka people’s sincerity and respect for Yimin Ye. However, with the increasing awareness of animal protection, Hsinchu County Government has been promoting a sacred pig coloring contest and promoting the use of symbolic offerings such as longevity peaches, longevity noodles and sweet sticky rice instead of killing living pigs. Since Yimin Festival keeps up with the times, its spirit can be promoted and be passed down to the younger generations.
Hsinchu County Government has placed great emphasis on making innovations and taking root while organizing Yimin Festival. This year, the government initiated several pioneering activities, including the integration of comics and Yimin Festival at schools, Yimin comic worksheets, sacred pig coloring, sacred pig installation arts, and a program on teaching Hakka. All of these innovations have showed the government’s resolution to promote the Hakka Yimin spirit.