Thursday, July 31, 2008

Taiwan Tips #2

MY QUESTION: Which Taiwanese holidays do you feel are most important for us to study and celebrate with our son?

For Han Chinese and my family, here are the most important ones we celebrate (but not limited to), but Aborigines have different holiday celebrations:
a) Chinese New Year- most well known Han Chinese holiday.
b) Tomb Sweeping Day- Christians might have issue with this particular holiday, because you probably see it as ancestor "worship". For Han Chinese it's very important to pay respect to our ancestors. I see it less as "worship" but more as a special time to pay respect to people who gave us life.
c) Dragon boat festival- Taiwanese love the Dragon boat festival for the boat races and the food, even though the origin of the holiday doesn't seem to be that relevant in the modern Taiwan. :)
d) Moon Festival (aka Mid-Autumn Festival)- this is a holiday that started with a romantic story, but has evolved to become a family holiday. Modern day Taiwanese family "reunites" on this day and sit around the table to eat together, just like the moon becomes "round" (round is the same sound as reunite in Chinese.) There are a lot of old Chinese poems about the significance of reuniting on the 15th day of August of the lunar calendar.

MY QUESTION: In regards to extra-curricular activities, like martial arts, are there any you would suggest he learn? Anything that every Taiwanese kid knows how to do?

No, not really. When I was growing up, we had to study so hard for the high school and college entrance exams that most extra-curricular actitivies were stopped as soon as we entered 7th grade. I don't persoanlly know anyone who has studied martial arts when I was in Taiwan, especially when it didn't help with getting better grades at school! Kids nowadays learn a variety of things like piano, English, speed reading and mental math. Because Taiwan in the past 10 years has adopted a college admission system that is similar to the American system, therefore most extra-curricular activities are geared towards helping kids get ahead at schools and improve their chances of being admited to top senior high schools and top colleges. In Taiwan, all these cost money, so kids from disadvantaged families rarely have access to extra-curricular actitivies. I honestly can't think of anything that every Taiwanese kids knows how to do- perhaps playing computer/video games and watching TV...this really shows how Westernized Taiwanese have become!! :)


Cramber said...

Thank you so much for posting these Q&A's! What a great idea :)

Andrea said...

Love these!


Mark, Rebecca and Sophia said...

So interesting.

Rebecca said...

I know we definitely want to, at least in some way, observe those holidays. Funny, those were at the top of my list. :)