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Yimin Temple Hosts Major Hakka Religious Event, President and Other Guests Pay Their Respects
  • PostDate:2023-09-04
  • Modified Date:2023-09-27


Hsinchu County’s Baozhongting Yimin Temple is a major spot of worship for Taiwan’s Hakka people, and today (September 4; the 20th day of the 7th month on the lunar calendar) is the Yimin Grand Worship Ceremony. President Tsai Ing-wen, Hakka Affairs Council Chief Yiong Con-ziin, and Hsinchu County Magistrate Yang Wen-ke participated in the ceremony, which was led by Yimin Temple Chairman Lin Guang-hua. Staff member Chen Shih-wei took charge of the main incense burner on the ceremony stage. President Tsai expressed that the Father of the Yimin religion is an extremely important intangible cultural asset, and she hopes the Hakka people will be able to pass down the Yimin spirit to the next generations and, in turn, forge a stronger bond with society.


President Tsai drew attention to the characters 忠 (loyal) and 義 (righteous) written all over the temple grounds, explaining that followers of Yimin are passionate about the land they live on and protecting the family members they love. She mentioned that the first ever World Hakka Expo was held this year in Taoyuan, and described how the event was only successfully executed due to the tight-knit collaboration between the Hakka residents and the local and central governments. The president went on to ask the participants to visit the Presidential Office if they had a chance, as there is a Word Hakka Exhibition currently on display. She expressed her hope that everyone, regardless of who they are and what they identify with, will become a good follower of the Father of Yimin, and invited all members of the public, Taiwanese and foreigners alike, to experience the Hakka festivities together.


Hsinchu County Magistrate Yang Wen-ke expressed that this year, the worship celebrations have fallen to the Wufenpu Village to hold a shared ceremony. He expressed his thanks to staff member Chen Shih-wei, who was in charge of the ceremony’s main incense burner, as well as the residents and everyone else associated with the Wupu Village of Hsinpu Town and Tungping Village of Kuanhsi Town. “Although the populations of these towns and villages are small, they make up for it with their passion and their sense of duty, which really touched me. Their devoutness to the Father of Yimin is really moving to me as well.” The Hakka people believe in toiling away in the blazing sun, studying hard in the pouring rain and remaining loyal and just, but they are now facing the challenges of passing down the Hakka culture to the next generation. Magistrate Yang expressed hope that people will help through the research and teaching of the Hakka language, putting an emphasis on learning the eight tones of the dialect, and popularizing the tea plucking performances and Hakka teachings. “This is what we must do to ensure that the culture is passed on from generation to generation.” The magistrate also thanked the president for attending the event in person, as President Tsai herself is of Hakka ancestry and her presence “made everyone feel so honored and see how approachable she is.”


In a speech delivered by Yimin Temple’s Chairman Lin Guang-hua, he said that President Tsai Ing-wen had been attending the same event since Yimin Temple celebrated its 220th anniversary, and she always prayed devoutly. Mr. Lin also related the history of Yimin Temple, including the wise forefathers and historical heroes that the temple honors and worships, adding that he has much hope for this year’s Yimin Temple Ceremony, and that the President’s attendance will “no doubt bring us a smooth year with good winds and ample rain, allowing the country to flourish and the people to thrive.” Hakka Affairs Council Chief Yiong Con-ziin explained that Yimin Temple is a place to worship the forefathers and ancestors who have protected the lands, contributed greatly, and sacrificed themselves for the region; for this reason it can be considered Taiwan’s Martyrs' Shrine. The spirit of following and worshiping the Father of Yimin is something people can learn from. The act of passing out incense sticks to worship and pray to the Father of Yimin is a very important cultural phenomenon among Hakka Taiwanese, and represents how the group is loyal to the land and loyal to the people.


Taiwan People’s Party Chairman Ko Wen-je and New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih were also present the same day to pay their respects and worship at the Baozhongting Yimin Temple, and they also delivered speeches at the event. Mayor Hou spoke of the large Hakka population in New Taipei City—over 600,000 people—which makes it the second largest concentration of Hakka people in Taiwan. In total, approximately 4.6 million Hakka Taiwanese are scattered throughout Taiwan. Mayor Hou wants to help keep the Hakka people’s cultural and historical traditions alive, which requires the holding and development of local Yimin Day celebrations in various places across Taiwan. He hopes that the spirit of the Father of Yimin can gather the energy from all Taiwanese people to make Taiwan a better place, allowing the next generation to share an amicable future between all groups and walks of life and ensuring a sustainable, stable, and thriving Taiwan.


As President Tsai will be traveling overseas in the near future, Hsinchu County Magistrate Yang Wen-ke and Hsinchu County Government Cultural Bureau Chief Lee An-yu gifted her a talisman designed for this year’s Yimin Worship Ceremony to wish her a smooth and safe journey. The Yimin Temple Grand Worship Ceremony also held an award ceremony for holy pigs and holy lambs, as well as a “passing of the torch” ritual to announce the host of next year’s ceremony, which will be Shiguang Village.


As Yimin Temple is an important pillar of the Hakka religion, many key members of the government attended today’s event in person, including Presidential Office Secretary General Lin Chia-lung, Deputy Secretary General Chang Chu-han, Hakka Affairs Council Chief Yiong Con-ziin, Deputy Chief Chou Chiang-chieh, Yi Ming Senior High School Group Chairman Huang Mao-shih, legislators Lin Szu-ming and Wang Wan-yu, former lawmaker Hsu Hsin-ying, Hsinpu Town Chief Chen Ying-lou, Hsinpu Town Resident Representative Chairman Wang Tseng-chi, Kuanhsi Town Chief Chen Guang-tsai, Kuanhsi Town Resident Representative Chairman Luo Shih-tian, etc.