Pazeh Plain Aborigines Celebrate New Year With Thanks-giving Harvest Festival And Traditional Sport Competition

To celebrate the traditional new year in Pazeh calendar and commemorate the grace of God, about 1,200 peopleassembled at Liyu Elementary School at San-I Shiang of Miao-li County holding a thanks-giving harvest festival and a traditional sport competition on November 12. This event was organized by the Pazeh Aborigine Cultural Association, whose members were mainly members of Liyutang Presbyterian Church of Hsin-chu Presbytery.

Most of the crowd came from three major communities ofPazeh plain aborigines: Taba Shia (Liyutang tribe of San-I Shiang of Miao-li County), An-li Shia (An-li community at Ta-shia village of Seng-kan District of Taichung City), and Auran Shia (Ai-lan Li at Poli township of Nan-tou County).

Pazeh aborigines is one of the plain aboriginals, not yet recognized by Taiwan government, whose history has avery prominent role in the development of central Taiwan since the end of 17th century. As this Pazeh new year and harvest festival came into the 14th anniversary since 2002, leaders of local government, officials from Council of Indigenous Peoples, and representatives from Taiwan Historica were all invited to witness Pazeh peoples' effort to restore this endangered Pazeh language and culture.

At the beginning of this harvest festival, Rev Wang Fang-chou and the members of Liyutang Presbyterian Churchwere led into the site by a traditional Pazeh dance of copper gong. The dancers showed their heart-felt thanks-giving to the glorious God in a passionate and triumphant tempo. And then, in order to encourage young generations not to forget their cultural identity, the Pazeh elders read the "An-li Family Commandment" aloud in the Pazeh language.

Mr Pan Ing-chi, president of the Pazeh Aborigine Cultural Association remarked in an appreciative tone that hadnot their forefathers converted to the Christian faith at 145 years ago, the Pazeh language must have already gone without a trace.

In the meantime, to show an strong union across the ethnic borders in Taiwan, local Hakka people at San-I Shiang and the Tayal aborigines from Swasiga Presbyterian Church also came to celebrate this Pazeh new year together. During the activity of "surrounding the field", the climax of this new year celebration, the Pazeh people sang the traditional song Aiyen and circled around the site hands in hands to show their solidarity and determination to sing their song into future generations!

Source: The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan