The 2018 National Yimin Festival, hosted by the villages in Xiashan Region, will celebrate its grand inauguration at Xinpu Yimin Temple on August 26th. In the press conference held at Hsinchu County Archive on August 15th, Hsinchu County Magistrate Chiu Ching-chun indicated that Xinpu Yimin Temple will celebrate its 230th anniversary this year. Moreover, this year's Yimin Festival integrates the element of the host region—Hakka Lion, creating a brand new image for the cultural event.
Director of Cultural Affairs Bureau, Zhang Yi-zhen, showed that on the opening day, Yimin Ye, the guardian of Hakka people, will parade through the host region before a sacred seating ritual is performed in a traditional way. In addition, worshipers will be able to attend the offering serving ritual in person for the first time. Troupes and school clubs from across Hsinchu County that master the local folk custom "Hakka Lion Dance" will also be invited to give performances to enrich the festivity.
For this year's Yimin Festival, Hsinchu County Government specially organizes an art exhibition of painted sacred pigs and Hakka lions, sets up a wishing wall and holds the Yimin Festival Painting Competition. The offerings to Yimin Ye will be prepared by the members of the home economics class of Qionglin Township Farmers' Association. Fresh local food ingredients will be turned into delicious dishes and served in honor of Yimin Ye. After the worship ceremony is finished, visitors will be allowed to savor the dishes as a way to get blessings from Yimin Ye and experience the hospitality of Hakka people and the festive atmosphere of this cultural event.
The grand inauguration will kick off at 9 a.m. at Xinpu Yimin Temple. Led by an array of people carrying giant flags, a procession made up of 11 teams, nearly 300 people in total, will march toward the host region, where Hakka lions will greet the parade and Yimin Ye with a lion dance ritual to get rid of evil spirits and bring good fortune.
After the inauguration, visitors can stand in line for the limited talismans empowered by Yimin Ye. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., visitors who finish 10 challenges, including hoisting a shoulder pole, making red rice cakes and straw sandals, solving riddles of Hakka proverbs, and wearing a Yimin costume, can get a special edition talisman that is said to be able to bring good luck. Last but not least, a splendid lion dance competition, attended by eight troupes from all over Hsinchu County, will amuse the visitors at 7 p.m.
Magistrate Chiu sincerely invites people from all over Taiwan to participate in this traditional Hakka festival in Hsinchu County. For more information, please refer to the Official Website or Facebook Fan Page of Cultural Affairs Bureau.