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2023 Baosheng Cultural Festival: Discover the joy of being Taiwanese

Ba Jia Jiang | Photo: Liao Yi-shengBa Jia Jiang | Photo: Liao Yi-sheng

The annual Baosheng Cultural Festival will be unveiled on April 23. It will be an annual feast of art and culture, with new innovations made every year within a framework of tradition to present carefully planned activities, transforming Dalongdong Baoan Temple into a performance space rich in local Taiwanese culture and the art of life, and enabling traditional art and culture to enter into the lives of the public, giving new significance to folk temples and drawing tourists to visit and immerse themselves in the lively atmosphere of traditional festive celebrations. The activities of Baosheng Cultural Festival will begin with the Gong Striking Opening Ceremony on April 23, marking the start of a series of exciting cultural activities, including a variety of traveling performances such as the traditional Family Surnames Folk Opera Series, Lion Fireworks Show, and performances by performing arts groups. A number of stationed activities will also be held, such as Free Healthcare and Medical Consultation, Baosheng Dadi’s Birthday Celebration Feast, and Three Consecrations in Celebration of Baosheng Dadi’s Sacred Date of Birth. The activities cover a wide variety of fields, including religion, art and culture, festive rituals, and academic research, and will take on diverse genres and forms to showcase the cultural vitality of Taiwan.

Lion Fireworks Show | Photo: Liao Yi-shengLion Fireworks Show | Photo: Liao Yi-sheng

Following the Gong Striking Opening Ceremony, the first show of the Family Surnames Folk Opera Series will be a Taiwanese opera performed by students from the Department of Taiwanese Opera of the National Taiwan College of Performing Arts. Taiwanese opera is an iconic theater genre most representative of Taiwanese cultural characteristics and a precious cultural product of folk art born and bred in Taiwan. Young students will show off their passion for traditional opera and a sense of mission in passing on their heritage. In addition, Baoan Temple has committed to the goal of promoting traditional opera in the hope that the general public will appreciate the splendor of traditional opera with its rich and varied forms, and gain a deeper appreciation of the imagery and charms of traditional opera. The Family Surnames Folk Opera Series will run until May 17. Baoan Temple will provide a platform for new stars to show off their skills acquired from masters and invite arts veterans and young opera practitioners to interact with one another. It will be a gathering of distinguished performing arts groups in Taiwan, taking turns in showing off their performing chops on stage. The repertoire will include both traditional opera and new interpretations of classics, and will cover both literary and martial arts genres. Performing troupes this year include: the Shintrun Taiwanese Opera Troupe, led by master Liao Chiung-chih, who has been hailed as the national treasure of Taiwanese opera; Lan-Yang Taiwanese Opera, hailing from the hometown of Taiwanese opera; and Shiu-Kim Taiwanese Opera Troupe, which rose to prominence from temple roadshows. Local students from the Taiwanese opera troupe of Yongle Elementary School from Taipei City will also put on an exciting show of their finest efforts. We invite you to join us on the temple grounds to take in the show. The Family Surnames Folk Opera Series of Baoan Temple is the oldest form of folk theater in Taipei. The Lion Fireworks Show was the first of its kind, emerging more than a hundred years ago. Tradition crystallizes out of practice by generations upon generations of people, being passed down over time to become classic festivities. The Lion Fireworks Show will be held in the evening of May 3 on the grounds of Baoan Temple. This is one of the most anticipated highlights of the Baoan Cultural Festival, marking the climax of the series of events.

Baosheng Dadi’s Birthday Celebration Feast | Photo: Liu Chia-haoBaosheng Dadi’s Birthday Celebration Feast | Photo: Liu Chia-hao

The fire lion was handmade by Taipei City Government–registered traditional paper paste artist Li Ching-rung. This paper lion, a work of exquisite craftsmanship, is majestic in appearance and flexible in movement. Its body contains bee firecrackers that are set off together with fireworks, creating endless explosions of sparks in the night sky. The fire lion is set alight as the fire crackers are set off. Thick rolling plumes of smoke float into the sky, inspiring images of viruses and all things inauspicious dissipating. The beauty of the bursts of fireworks leave a lasting impression in people’s hearts. After three years of the pandemic of the century, today our lives will gradually revert to normal. Baoan Temple will cast blessings over post-pandemic life through religious and cultural activities, reinvigorating cultural vitality in Taiwanese society. Here, we can enjoy an opera show, watch performing troupes, and take part in many activities. The pandemic has not knocked us down. This is an extraordinary blessing. As the invocation on the main hall of Baoan Temple reads, “Bless my descendants, keep them free of suffering from disease and on the path of faith, and let the people live in peace and happiness.” Belief in Baosheng Dadi has helped generations of people overcome the difficulties of every crisis, enabling many people to live in peace and happiness. The series of activities at Baosheng Cultural Festival are meant to glorify Baosheng Dadi. May 4 marks the birthday of Baosheng Dadi, and we at Baoan Temple invite everyone to join us at the temple in celebration. For more information on the various activities planned for Baosheng Cultural Festival this year, see the Dalongdong Baoan temple website. Baoan Temple would like to invite everyone to enter Dalongdong and see up close Baoan Temple, a work of concerted construction efforts and careful maintenance by generations of people. Take part in the Baosheng Cultural Festival and immerse yourself in the charms of religious culture and traditional art, feel the warm spirit and richness of the arts, experience traditional folk festivities, and enter into the splendid world of Taiwanese traditional culture.

Short Spear Sword Dance | Photo: Hsu Che-chiaShort Spear Sword Dance | Photo: Hsu Che-chia