With its special geographical factors and historical background, Penghu has been able to reserve its local features until today. And these features are: beliefs and religions, festival and holiday celebrations, and some National Literature and art season, cultural festival promoted in recent years.
Beliefs and religions
The sea tour activity for the Godess of Tien-hou TempleThe beliefs and religions of the Penghu people possess strong local features. For example, the sea tour activity for the Goddess of Tjanhou Temple. This is an activity that combines the living features of the island people and the original tradition and beliefs. Among temples, there are differences between public temples and private temples. The former is owned by Penghu, for exmple: Tjanhou temple, the temple of a city ruling deity, and the pavilion of Guanyin. Activities in these public temples are always bigger and also cost more. Private temples are owned by smaller local administration divisions. The regular festivals and activities in these temples are celebrations for gods’s birthdays and the peaceful blessing activity at the end of every year. Other irregular events are celebrations for temples when they are fully constructed or rebuilt. These events can be held at anytime.
Among irregular events, the most special one is the activity to sacrifice for kings. Among the 100 more temples, 47 of them hold this kind of activities. This is a very important local regions and custom which also reserves the simple nature of the Penghu culture. The only difference is this special activity is regularly held in Taiwan (once every 3 years), and is irregularly held in Penghu. This has something to do with the close economic ties among the private divisions in Penghu.
Festival and holiday celebrationsLantern Festival
In the beginning of every year, Penghu people will hold this Yuan-Xiao turtle-begging blessing prayer in temples. In Penghu, this prayer ceremony is bigger and more creative and interesting than those held in Taiwan. This is a very old tradition and therefore each temple will try its effort to be creative and special. This is also one unique feature that attracts many many tourists.
Laver pickingWhen the winter northeaster wind is strong, wild laver will naturally grow on the north side of islands or the nearby rocks. If the temperature is not too high, and with weak sunshine, the environment will be even better for laver to grow. Usually people pick wild laver twice a year, and thrice the most. Usually the first picking period will be around December (lunar calendar), and if laver grows successfully, the second picking can be proceeded around Januarary (lunar Calendar). The most famous group picking is usually on the Gupo island in Chikan village in Baisha Township.
Zhong-Yuan ghosts food-giving festivalsIt was very common that Penghu people made their living on the sea and died of accidents. Due to fear and traditional custom, people will give out food to ghosts. There are public and private festivals and mostly temples will hold public ones for bigger occasions.
literature and art season, cultural festivalin 1994, the Council for Culture Affairs of the Executive Yuan has set the theme "fellowmen, mother soil and home culture "for the national literature and art season and assists each county and city to hold their events and present their individual cultural features. The ultimate goal is to promote "community overall building", to carry out the ideal of"to build the great taiwan and rebuild the new china". And since 1998, to cooperate with the transformation of national literature and art season, the name of this event is changed to county and city cultural festival. In 4 years, penghu has presented "historic song of chrysanthemum and birds", "the age of Magong street", "the fragrant of the chikan fish", "dike in the wind" and "the legend of lao-gu stone".
1994 literature and art season - historic song of Gaillardia Islandthis event is held in the Erkan village with activities like: Erkan temple fair sightseeing tour, contests playing folk craft, penghu monument tour and traditional opera party. Motionless events are Erkan village folk cultural and historic relic festival, ancient monument and traditional village forum, penghu ancient monument photograph event and Erkan impression material event.
straw sandalsspecial straws are popular in penghu and are often used to make straw sandals. But the penghu residents are used to use straw ropes. Straw sandals are practical country handicraft, and they are also the basic items housewives must prepare. But with products made by machines presented, this handicraft is unevitably degenerating.
cattle vehiclespenghu is a remote province lack of goods and materials. Therefore, other parts of taiwan may weed cattle vehicles out for years though, lots of them can still be seen in penghu with wooden wheels and hoops. For now, it already cost too much to produce a cattle vehicle. With mechanic transportation tools being introduced, most workers have changed their jobs.
wooden carvingdue to its natural environment influences, it is difficult for a place without woods like penghu to develop wooden carving industry. Therefore, only few masters stay in this business. But from the carving in the ancient temples in penghu, it is quite obvious that those ancient masters possessed high quality skills on wooden carving.
paper glueat the end of every year, penghu residents will hold events in every temple to thanks for the safety of this year. And this is what supports the development of the paper glue business. The other big event held once in a few years is the "king boat sacrifice". In recent years, proprietors will ask for a change and therefore is causing paper glue designers to change its style to new ones. However, the simple beauty of paper glue still remains.
sugar lionit is very common for penghu residents to make sugar lion. General chinese cake stores can make them, too. Mostly they are made for temples beforehand. Therefore, reservations are necessary. In general buddhist utensil stores, you can buy sugar lion mold, not too common though.
1995 literature and art season - the age of the mother palace street
this event is held at the central village in Magong city. Centered by Tianhou Temple, old pictures event and articles to memorize old times are presented. Also there are tours to stroll on this old street, events of impression materials, forums to talk about its history, seminars of the new and old academic research about this street, Mazu patroling the sea, performances of folk arts and songs, voting for the landmark, achivement event of the plan for central street cultural style and features, memorable melody and photography contests...etc.
1996 literature and art season - the fragrant of chikan fish
this event is held in the chikan village in Baisha Township. 4 series are presented: the literature sketch of the fish village series which includes : photo event, impression articles and drafting contests; the impression material events series which includes: chikan fishing gear, fishing skill event, prehistoric culture event of chi-kan village, memory space exploring activity, markets in chikan village, poetry and articles, and laver picking emulation gathering; the homeland delight exploring series which includes: the beauty of the night, traditional farming and fishing skill contests, fishing village songs at night, skill contests on living on the sea,folk songs and arts, and tours of chikan history monuments and biology.
1997 literature and art season - the dike in the wind --- Gangzaiwei
includes: establishing a monthly about Gangzaiwei, cooking classroom about local food, spiral shell handicraft class, environmental protection volunteer group, pictures and poetry event, dating gang-zai-wei event, tour of human culture and nature in xujia village, traditional living skill contests, the evening of Gangzaiwei, rolling wisdom eggs, finding treasure, voting for the treasure of ancient houses, and gatherings to exchange experiences about community overall construction.
1999 cultural festival---the legend of Laogu stone
this event is held in Caiyuan village in Magong city. It includes: impression articles event,photo-taking contests about laogu stone expressions and lines, love me vegetable orchard, going to pile the laogu wall, delicious food stop, traditional farming and fishing skill contests, classes for laogu stone printing and dying, songs in the evening by the sea, finding treasure event, art creation joint festival, coral reef protection pictures event, poetry and writings event about lao-gu stone, taking rafts for exciting experiences and tours to villages and coral reef.
2002 Penghu cultural environment year-holding "an exposition of cultural asset of Gaillardia island."
To cooperate with culture founding association to improve the cultural environment, to wake up the public identification with history and culture, and to establish the wholoe people value of cultural asset, the cultural bureau has combined relevant executive institutions of cultural asset to hold these series events to hope thst people can realize the importance of the cultural asset around them. These events include tours, seminars and activities.
This might also make people to participate into the reservation and protection of cultural asset. The exposition of cultural asset of chrysanthenmum island hold events such as motionless festivals of cultural relics, Penghu traffic vedio event, haft-day tour ro mother-palace castle, geology exploring trip, basalt world fair, ancient toys experiences, folksongs and dances and many folk skills such as bamboo strip weave, cleaning faces with strips, weaving fish net, making straw sandals, hook baskets, bamboo steamer and flower chisel. Also they play old movies outdoor every Friday and Saturday night. This especially reminds many old people their wonderful memories.