See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Taiwanese version of Thanksgiving

Seeing Americans have Thanksgiving holidays, Alanruo tries to search for similar festival in Taiwan and finds a similar counterpart, the Well-beings sacrifice:

每年農曆十月十五前後,台灣的許多庄頭都會舉行歲末的平安祭,俗稱謝平安或拜平安。拜平安的對象是天公,謝天公其實就是表達對過去一年所有事業家庭進步的感謝,我認為這實實在在就是台灣的感恩節。

Each year at around the fifteenth day of the tenth lunar month (around November 15th in Gregorian calendar), many villages in Taiwan would hold the Well-beings sacrifice (平安醮), also known as xiepingan (謝平安) or baipingan (拜平安). The purpose of the xiepingan sacrifice is to express one's gratitude towards the Lord of Heaven, who guards and speeds one's business and family. I argue that this is indeed the Thanksgiving Day of Taiwan.

Below are some photos that show how the Taiwanese-version Thanksgiving looks like.

In some villages, people would jointly organize a three to seven day long Well-beings sacrifice to express their thanks to the deities and spirits who had protected them from ill-luck in the past year. Below is a picture showing the beautiful altar set up for the Taoist priests to perform a ritual.

https://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/alter.jpg
Photo courtesy of alhorn

This Well-beings sacrifice is not only for deities but also for ghosts, and the bamboo poles with flags in the following picture are erected several days before the ritual to catch the spirits’ attention for the ceremony.

https://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/bamboo.jpg
Photo courtesy of Alanruo

Alanruo explained the ritualistic function of the grass inside the bucket:

也不能忘記給甲兵秣馬用的草料

We cannot forget the forage for gods’ horses.

https://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/forage.jpg
Photo courtesy of Alanruo

Big pigs are presented as sacrifices.

https://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/pig.jpg
Photo courtesy of alhorn

There is “real” food for deities, ghosts, and humans, and there is “symbolic” food for deities and ghosts.

https://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/chicken.jpg
Photo courtesy of Alanruo

Time has changed and so do items presented in the ceremony. The tradition keeps renovating–Alanruo discovered some new offer items:

糖果屋有什麼了不起,王子麵屋也很酷

What's the big deal about the candy house? This house made of packs of instant noodles is cool, too.

https://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/noodlehouse.jpg
Photo courtesy of Alanruo

Because there are so much food and so many ghosts, it is important to have Master Dashi (Dashihye, 大士爺), an underworld deity, standing by the tables to make sure that food for the ghosts is evenly distributed.

https://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/dashi.jpg
Photo courtesy of alhorn

In the evenings, there are troupe performance or movie show to entertain spirits and human. At the end of the Well-beings sacrifice, the taoist priests would thank gods again and give blessing to the guests.

1 comment

  • […] Global Voices as an example of bottom-up grassroots cultural curation. I used I-fan’s post on Xiepingan (謝平安) and Thanksgiving as an example of how people use citizen media to build cultural […]

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site