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Taiwan’s traditional

folkgames
Bamboo-copter
Bamboo-copter ( 竹蜻蜓 "bamboo
dragonfly") is a Chinese children's toy
invented around 400 CE. It essentially
consists of a propeller on a stick, and rolling
the stick in the right direction spins the
propeller, causing the toy to "take off" when it
is let go of. This toy eventually made its way
to Europe via trade and has been depicted in
a 1463 European painting. "Bao Pu Zi" ( 抱樸
子 ) was a 4th century book in China that
described some of the ideas in a rotary wing
aircraft. In the USA, these are sometimes
sold as Wooden Puddle Jumpers.
How to play Bamboo-copter
When you play the
bamboo dragonfly, it
makes the axis by a
small stick. The crown of
axis has the propeller
wing (it is sometimes
feather), as soon as you
rub the hands with the
small stick handle, it can
fly upwards quickly, the
affect is just like adding
the propeller on the
wings of a helicopter.
shuttlecock kicking
 Shuttlecock kicking, Ti Jian Zi, is another
traditional popular folk game. Some records
date its origin as far back as the Han Dynasty
(206BC-220AD). This game prevailed during
the Tang Dynasty (618-907), when shops
specializing in shuttlecocks business
appeared. In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644),
formal competition of shuttlecock kicking was
held. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911),
shuttlecock kicking reached its climax in
terms of both making techniques and the
kicking skills. Besides, it’s convenient to play,
for only a very small area is needed to kick
the shuttlecock, and it can be practiced just
about anywhere and anytime. The challenge
of the increasingly difficult levels of
shuttlecock kicking has made it a popular
and timeless game among the Chinese.
How to play shuttlecock
 In this game, teams of 1 or 2 use their feet to
kick the shuttlecock over the net. This is very
similar to badminton with the same scoring
system.
Chinese yo-yo
• It is fairly difficult to know with precision
when the Chinese yo-yo was invented.
Historians however agree that in China,
where it was discovered, the game of
Chinese yo-yo has been practised for more
than 4000 years. In China today, like the
first ones, Chinese yo-yos are still made in
bamboo, with openings on the side making it
whistle while spinning. French and English
missionnaries brought these strange objects
back to Europe, named by an unknown
erudite "Diaballo" (later diabolo). In 1906, a
French inventor Gustave Pillipart presented
a diabolo made of two metal cup, with the
edges protected by rubber. The modern
Chinese yo-yo was invented!
Let’s see how to play the
Chinese yo-yo!
Rolling Start with Power Pulls
1) Start by setting the Chinese yo-yo on the
string and then on the floor to your Right.
Set the Chinese yo-yo in front of your
right foot, stand up and move to farther
to the Right if possible. The farther the
Chinese yo-yo is set Right of you, the more
spin possible. Remember lefties, You will
need to set the Chinese yo-yo to your Left.
2) Before rolling the Chinese yo-yo,
stand pointing your sticks at the
Chinese yo-yo off to your left. The
string should be hanging from sticks
to Chinese yo-yo. If not position the
Chinese yo-yo even farther right.
3) Now begin by rolling the Chinese yo-
yo across the floor in front of you.
Start your roll slow, but accelerate
faster as the Chinese yo-yo moves
Left.
4) As the Chinese yo-yo reaches a
point in front of you (before your
left foot's position); gently lift the
Chinese yo-yo up by lift with both
sticks.
5) The Chinese yo-yo should be
spinning counterclockwise. Try to
center the Chinese yo-yo and begin
to pull harder with the Right
handstick.
Practice goals are to reach a medium
speed without causing the Chinese
yo-yo to swing wildly after the
pickup.
Taiwan Puppet Shows
(BuDaiXi)
Local Puppet Show
 Inthe days before TV and radio, puppet
shows ruled (BuDaiXi - pronounced Boo-
Die-Shee). Traditionally, these were shown
outside of temples - in part to entertain
the gods! The puppets were handcrafted
and reflected traditional society and
religion.
These shows outside of temples can still
sometimes be seen, though often they
have been replaced with projections of
movies.
Modern Puppet Show
 The traditional puppet theatre has been
reinvented for the modern world. On local
TV is an entire channel devoted to puppet
shows and rental videos of puppet theatre
are big business.
The modern, televised version features the
traditional hand-crafted puppets - but with
special effects. The stories are mostly
adult fare, like historical soap operas.
Taiwan’s Festivals
Dragon Boat
Festival
 Ancient books once advised people to put
some herbal plants into their bath water in
order to clean themselves and ward off
dirty things. So this festival was a time
when all people were urged to drive away
epidemics and improve their health. Many
health exercises have become blended with
Chinese Folk Festivals. Even today, many of
the customs associated with the Dragon
Boat Festival are related to warding off
insects and animals.
 Now we want to introduce to you
some important customs and
decorative items associated with
this Festival.
 Ai Hu is a kind of plant, whose yellow
leaves could be eaten raw, and whose
old leaves could be made into a kind
of acupuncture tool. Perfume sachets
are a kind of purse made of colorful
fancy cloth, which contain balm. They
are usually worn by children.
Eating rice tamales during the festival is an old
custom, which dates back to the Warring States
period. Zhong Zi, or rice tamales, were called Jiao
Shu in ancient China. A saying has it that after
eating rice tamales, it is time to put away the
winter clothes, or without eating the tamales, no
one dares to put away the winter clothes. This
means that when Zhong Zi appear, it is
summertime and people should start to adjust
their living to the season. Thus, Zhong Zi seems
to be a trademark, or a sign for summer, and not
 The Dragon Boat race is another custom
associated with this festival. No one knows
exactly when this custom began. Some say it
was for the patriotic poet Qu Yuan, but others
say it was to commemorate the filial daughter
Cao Er, still others say it was for the worship of
Wu Zi Xu, an ancient statesman. However,
most scholars believe that regardless of
whether the Dragon Boat Race was meant to
commemorate Qu Yuan, Cao Er, of Wu Zi Xu,
the intention was meant to be good.
Furthermore, boat racing is good exercise,
Mid-Autumn Festival
Generally speaking, the reason the Mid Autumn
Festival holds such great meaning for Chinese
people, is that the full moon is a symbol of reunion.
Yet, the Mid Autumn Festival depicts much more
than people's appreciation of the full moon, and
theur yearning for family reunion. With other
activities being held during this day, the festival is
both joyful and poetic. Also because Chinese people
are associated with the full moon ,the Mid Autumn
Festival is also known as the People's Festival.
According to custom, those who work or study
outside of their hometowns are supposed to return
home to have a family reunion. Therefore, the
festival is also called the Reunion Festival. Even the
food served on this day has a round shape. For
example: moon cakes are in the shape of the moon,
which reflects people's pursuit of a round and
perfect life.
Lantern Festival
 There is an
interesting story
about riddle
guessing. Legend
has it that riddle
guessing first took
place 2000 years
ago, in ancient
China, when it was
called Yi Zhu, or
hidden meaning.
Later, a poor
scholar, named
Wang Xiao, was
responsible for
 Carrying lanterns and guessing the
riddles written on them are still very
popular activities today. Meanwhile,
with the advent of science and
technolagy, many electric lanterns
have been invented, which usually
attract tens of thousands of people to
see them.  With the Lantern Festival,
the month long New Year Festival
finally comes to an end. Now people
abandon their partying spirit and
return to work.
Pingtung Burning
God Boat
The Pingtung
Burning God Boat
custom comes from
the Hans. It was
one of the Hans’
most original
religion. When the
Hans immigrated to
Taiwan, they were
suffered from the
disease. They
believed that they
could wipe out the
disease with the
religion, and they
did feel at ease
after then.
There is a God
who is in charge
of the diseases.
People will build
up a large boat to
let the God carry
thousands of
monsters that
cause disease
away. Then
people need to
ask the God to
pick a day to
depart. Also,
people have to
put enough food
and money on the
The Pingtung Burning God Boat is held
once three years. People often cost lots
of money building it. When watching the
boat burning, there are something you
have to take notice of: First, you need to
take care of yourselves, especially when
the burning boat is being pushed into the
sea, there are surely many people
gathering around. Second, please do not
talk, and never say something such as “It a
pity that the boat was burned.” It is a
taboo subject. Third, you can’t touch or
take things on the boat. Forth, just take it
easy when watching the boat burned and
enjoy it, it will certainly be a nice
Temples
Da Jia Jenn
Lann Temple
 They said that the Palace Guarding Mazu
was the works when small shrine “Chen
Nan Palace” was rebuilt to a big palace
(1752 ~ 1770 AD).
   It was said that Mr. Yung-hsing LIN ( 林
永興 ) and his wife, natives of Mei Chou
Islet of Pu Tien, respectfully brought this
Mazu from Tsao Tien Pavilion in Mei Chou
when they moved to Taiwan in 8th year of
Yung Cheng, Ching Dynasty (1730 AD).
Since she left Mei Chou, this Mazu has
stayed in Taiwan till 89th year of Republic
of China (2000 AD). Then, Taiwan
believers went on a pilgrimage with her, so
she could return to the land of Mei Chou
Islet.
Goddess of Sea –
MaZu
 Due to the geographical location and the
historical background in Taiwan, there are many
folk religions and deities. Among these deities,
the St. Celestial Queen – Mazu, the so called
Goddess of Sea, has the most believers and
the noblest position. For Taiwanese, it is not a
superstition to believe in Mazu, but a deep-
rooted belief. People regard her as their parent,
and worship her as a deity. People respect and
love her from the depth of their hearts. In Spring
every year, Mazu’s birthday is in March. It is a
revelry festival. Pilgrims worship her. It is an
exceptionally grand occasion.
  Her body is made of top grade rattan, and
woven in form of Nine Palace and Eight
Diagrams. The head is made of wood. She
has binding feet. Her hands and feet are
movable. The whole Mazu statue is placed
on a chair with spiral shaped feet. Her
subordinate gods are warrior type Thousand-
mile-eyes and Favorable-wind-ears. They
stand on two outer sides of the shrine. On
the inner sides there stood two female
officers. One holds a seal. Another one holds
one imperial decree.
Taiwan’s Aborigines
Introduction
Many first-time travelers to Taiwan
are surprised by its cultural
diversity, especially by the rich
history and traditions of its
indigenous peoples. Currently,
there are 13 officially recognized
indigenous tribes: the Amis,
Atayal, Bunun, Kavalan(Kamalan),
Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Saisiyat,
Sakizaya, Thao, Truku (Taroko),
Tsou, and Tao(Yami).
Amis
The Harvest Festival
The harvest festival is
the most important
day in a year for the
Amis. During July and
August each year, the
Amis in Ma Tai An
follow their ancestral
tradition to hold a
harvest festival
ceremony to express
their gratitude to their
gods for bestowing a
harvest year and to
pray for a great
harvest in the coming
year.
During the festival, Amis women
danced gracefully in thanksgiving
while young men seemed to show
their exuberance and power with a
"warrior dance."