1,000 people surnamed Liu gather to celebrate Chinese ancestry

Taipei, A group of 1,000 people with the surname Liu gathered Friday near the site of a family shrine in New Taipei to celebrate their ancestry and plan for the collection of their history and genealogical records.

Liu Chi-chun (???), president of the Liu Clan Association, said the gathering was testimony to "the power of unity," which tends to be rare in urban areas like New Taipei.

Some of the 1,000 members of the Liu clan traveled from other cities and counties for the family reunion lunch at a restaurant near the site of their shrine in New Taipei's Xindian District.

As is customary, the clan leaders disbursed "respect" money to the senior members and bursaries to the students who are doing well in school, from elementary to university level.

The association president also gave red envelopes to the 90 seniors aged 80 and over and wished them good health and long life extending to 120 years.

After the bursaries were handed out, the eldest member of the Liu clan, 96-year-old Liu Han-shao (???), announced the start of the 100-table banquet.

"Lunch is ready, enjoy the meal," he said.

One of the clan members said his first recorded ancestor in Taiwan came from Anxi County in Fujian Province in 1750, the 15th year of Emperor Chien Lung, the fourth emperor in the Ching Dynasty.

As part of the clan's efforts to preserve, pass on and celebrate its history, the association will hold a competition among the Lius to see who could compile the most comprehensive account of family stories based on official records dating back to the Ching Dynasty (1644-1912) and the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945), and also on oral history, Liu Chi-chun told the press.

The association is also trying to ensure continuity by focusing on young members of the Liu clan, he said.

To that end, the association's board of directors and supervisors on Friday presented fine wood chops to all the children of the clan who started elementary school last year, the chairman said.

"The Liu clan celebrates children entering elementary school," were the words engraved on the chop, a message that the chairman said was aimed at encouraging the younger generation to do well in school and later in their chosen careers.

Liu Chi-chun also promised to oversee the construction of a new family shrine, since the old one, which was built in the late 19th century, had to be demolished to make way for the mass rapid transit line though New Taipei.

"I hope you will join me in celebrating the opening of our new family shrine in three years' time," he told the gathering.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel