As in mainland China, 'face' is a crucial element in Taiwanese culture and society. 'Face' to the Chinese has no direct translation in the West, though the closest comparison would be 'pride'. It is considered the height of bad manners to cause someone else to lose face, so most Taiwanese do not show much emotion or express extreme opinions for fear of causing offence. In order to impress and avoid any social mistakes, it is wise to follow the same approach. This extends to very generous gift giving, offering to pay for restaurant bills and general flattery of your hosts. Service charges in restaurants tend to be included in the bill. If not, then about 10% is a standard tip. For most services you are not expected to tip, with the exception of bellboys and porters who will tend to expect about USD 1.00 per bag.
Yingko Ceramics Festival Set in the beauty of the Yinkgo's indoor and outdoor exhibit space and park areas, this ceramics festival celebrates the importance of pottery in everyday life. Tour the museum's working kilns, children's areas and stunning collections, while viewing artisans at work on their newest pieces.
Philharmonia Moment Musical was founded in February 1998 by the prominent young violinist and conductor Po-Po Chiang. Over time, Po-Po's enthusiasm for music has allowed this professional-level ensemble to consistently make credible and high quality music. Consisting of the finest and most devoted young instrumentalists in Taiwan, Philharmonia Moment Musical has established itself as a leading ensemble in the country.
Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) is the longest and most important festival in Taiwan. Preparations begin well in advance as people purchase new clothing, snacks, candy, and colourful decorations with auspicious meanings. After a family reunion and banquet, the year is ushered in with the thunderous roar of exploding firecrackers and screaming rockets. Customs include enjoying sumptuous family feasts, offering food to the gods and giving friends and relatives red envelopes containing "lucky money."
Shang Yuan (Lantern Festival) On the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar, a second "New Year" celebration takes place throughout the city. Children carry lanterns--illustrated with legendary heroes, birds and beasts--to Taipei's temples. It is a competition, of sorts, for favour from the "God of Heaven," whose birth this Lantern Festival, Shang Yuan, commemorates. The largest gathering of lanterns is at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, an event so popular that the city fathers have extended it with various Lantern Exhibitions run through February 20. Look for fireworks, riddle parties and religious rites as part of the festivities.
Taipei Lantern Festival held at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, features thousands of elaborate lanterns, lion and dragon dances, folk art demonstrations, acrobatic performances, and ceremonial temple processions. The festival has a different theme each year, and combines tradition with technology, art, sound, and light. This grand, three-day celebration of Chinese culture attracts millions of revellers every year, making it the largest celebration on the island.
Tomb Sweeping Day is a time for families to visit the resting places of their ancestors, pay their respects, clean the graves, place fresh flowers, and perhaps plant a few new bushes or trees. Offerings of "ghost money" are dutifully burned in the belief that the smoke will carry the essence of the money to their ancestors in the spirit world.
Dragon Boat Festival The legend behind the colourful Dragon Boat Festival concerns a famous Chinese poet named Chu Yuan, who lived during the Warring States period (403-221 BC). A loyal court official, he was discredited by rivals and lost the trust of his king. The despondent poet drowned himself on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in the year 277 BC. The common people in the area respected the exiled official, so they jumped into their boats and rushed out to save him. The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates this unsuccessful rescue attempt.
The Taipei Traditional Art Festival (TTAF) is one of the major events held every spring by Taipei City Government. The event, focuses on traditional performances. With hundreds of performances to date, the TTAF is the largest traditional music festival in Taiwan.
Ghost Month On the first day of the seventh lunar month, known as Ghost Month, the gates of hell open wide and the spirits are allowed a month of feasting and revelry in the world of the living. To ensure that the ghosts enjoy a pleasant vacation, lavish feasts are set out, paper "ghost money" is burned for their use, and Taiwanese operas are performed. The climax of Ghost Month is the Chung Yuan Festival on the 15th of the month, when great sacrificial feasts are set out in temples and priests chant for the dead.To insure that the ghosts don't get lost on their way to these feasts, lanterns are attached to tall bamboo poles in temple courtyards to act as beacons. Lanterns are also floated on lakes and streams because of a Chinese legend that the spirits of people who have drowned will seek substitute victims. Ghost month is most actively celebrated in Keelung, with an annual parade through the streets and elaborate feasts for the spirits at Tsu Pu Tan temple, in Chung Cheng Park.
Qianggu Toucheng was a base for the development of the Ilan area. Each year, on the seventh day of the 7th month on the Chinese lunar calendar, and again at the end of the month, the area features Taiwan's largest "ghost month" festivals. On the last day of the festival, they hold an event called Qianggu. Two tents are constructed, one 39 Taiwanese metres tall and the other 18 Taiwanese metres tall. Whoever can climb up to the top and claims the flag and the gold plaque wins good luck on the seas for the next year.
Armed Forces Day In 1955, the Ministry of National Defence felt that there should be an "Armed Forces Day" to honour all divisions of the military. Celebrated on September 3rd, Armed Forces Day memorializes the valour and sacrifices of all branches of the military during the eight-year war that ended in victory for China on that day. There are performances and activities which all can observe and there are educational activities as well. Some of the activities include a troop-cheering activity, and armed forces performances and parades. Perhaps most important to Taiwan's men in uniform is the rare day off granted by the Ministry of National Defence to military personnel on this occasion!
Mid-Autumn Festival, or Full-moon Festival, a national holiday, is always on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month and this year falls on 11 September. This festival signals that the year's hard work in the fields will soon come to an end, with only this harvest left to attend to. Round "moon cakes" must be eaten on this festival, and are symbolic of family unity and closeness. Pomelos are also eaten on this day. The Chinese word for pomelo or grapefruit is yu, which, in Chinese sounds the same as the word for protection, expressing the hope that the moon god will give them protection. Moon gazing is another essential part of this festival. On this day, the moon is at its roundest and brightest of the year. In Taiwan, it is also essential that you attend a barbeque with friends on this day.
Confucius' Birthday (Teacher's Day) The festival of Teacher's day or Confucius' Birthday is held in late September of the Gregorian calendar at the Confucius Temple to honour the greatest of Chinese educators. The unu sual ceremony on the morning of the 28th of September begins at around 4am and continues until just after sunrise. Specially selected elementary and junior high school students attend the ceremony. During the ceremony, students line up in eight rows and each student holds a goose feather, which represents the writing instrument of ancient times in honour of education and the ideals of their supreme educator.
Taipei International Book Exhibition A thousand exhibitors from nearly 50 countries gather here annually to show their works in Chinese, Japanese, English, French, German and other languages. This year's show at the World Trade Center is expected to draw nearly 400,000 visitors from the general public. There will be autograph sessions with famous authors, public seminars and workshops. Date to be announced each year.
Editor: canton fair