Two-month festival in Taiwan to highlight revival of Hakka culture
Taipei, July 11 (CNA) A festival scheduled to start in September will showcase the results of President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) policy of revitalizing Hakka culture in Taiwan, featuring more than 100 Hakka-themed events over a period of two months, the organizers said Thursday.
The festival will have a soft opening Sept. 21 on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office with a display of installation art that incorporates items associated with Hakka culture, such as persimmons and rice straw, according to the Hakka Affairs Council (HAC).
During the two-month festival, some 10 art exhibitions, 11 performances and 100 explorative cultural activities will be presented in Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli and Taichung, the council said.
Some of the events, including an exhibition at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Taipei, will target younger audiences, HAC Department of Industrial Economy Director Chiang Ching-sung (江清松) said.
"We want to show them that traditional Hakka culture is not as 'old' as they might think," Chiang told CNA on the sidelines of a press conference held after a weekly Cabinet meeting in Taipei on Thursday.
The idea of reviving and promoting Hakka culture was first put forth by Tsai during her presidential campaign in 2012, when she proposed a project to designate the 438.7-kilometer Provincial Highway 3 from Taipei to Pingtung as "Hakka Romantic Avenue."
Since Tsai took office in 2016, some NT$26.47 billion (US$845 million) has been allocated to the project, which requires the relevant government agencies to improve infrastructure, renovate historical sites, assist local industries and boost tourism along the route, with the ultimate goal of revitalizing Hakka culture, according to the HAC.
Its data showed that as of 2017, the Hakka population in Taiwan was about 19.3 percent of the total, making up the second-largest ethnic group in the country.
The Hakka population is concentrated mainly in Hsinchu County (73.6 percent), followed by Miaoli County (64.3 percent), Taoyuan City (40.5 percent), Hsinchu City (34.5 percent) and Hualien County (32.4 percent), according to HAC report.
Meanwhile, Chiang said at Thursday's press conference that Taiwan's Raknus Selu Trail, which runs through several Hakka communities near Provincial Highway 3, will exchange emblems with South Korea's Olle Trail in November for display on their respective road signs.
"We are hoping this arrangement will help raise the international profile of Raknus Selu Trail," he said.
The exchange of emblems will be carried out under a memorandum of understanding signed between the two sides last year to form a "sister trail" partnership, Chiang said.
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