Let's watch flowers in Hakka towns

The 2017 Hakka Tung Blossom Festival already started on March 25 and will run until May 14 amid much fanfare, taking the theme of "let's watch Tung blossoms together."  The festival also highlights traditional "Bogong worship" which means paying respect to the sky, the Earth, and mountains. This is exactly a core spirit of Hakka culture. A few historic and cultural flower trails have also been selected for holding side events, which include unplugged music concerts, free tea services, and farmers' markets. Visitors can expect to experience the charm of Hakka towns and the hospitality of Hakka people. The festival is held by the Hakka Affairs Council and 13 county and city governments – Keelung, New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Hsinchu City, Hsinchu County, Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, Nantou, Yunlin, Yilan, Hualien and Taitung. In each county and city, wonderful Tung flower activities will be held to share the vitality of Hakka places in spring time with outside visitors. A leisurely visit to Hakka towns surrounded by nature can be the best thing to do at this time of a year!

Respect for the Sky and the Earth: Bogong Worship
A Bogong worship ceremony will take place on Saturday April 22, 2017 at the Baliao Historic Trail in Guanxi Township, Hsinchu County. The pious attendants will show their gratitude and respect to the Sky, the Earth and mountains through prayers and dedication of incense, wine, flowers and fruits.

Bogong worship is a sacrifice-based Hakka tradition. With faith, the believers pray to the gods of the Earth, mountains and the Sky. This is because in early days Hakka people relied on what nature bestowed to them to make a living. Today, Bogong worship is performed to remind the descendants not to forget about their roots, in addition to thanking nature.

Tengping Trail to hold Tung blossom events
Spring time has come and Tengping Trail in Ermei Township, Hsinchu County has just been selected to be an important Tung blossom trail for the 2017 Hakka Tung Blossom Festival. From April 29 (Sat.) on, on the weekends during the festival time, at the Shishan Visitor Center, farmers' markets and arts and cultural performances will be held to encourage people to come to appreciate flowers along the trail.

The Shishan Scenic Area is located on the border between Hsinchu and Miaoli. "Shishan" means "Lion Mountain" as the major hill here looks like a squatting lion. Tengping Trail is quite natural and it is famous for flourishing Tung blossoms during the flower season. Visitors can also find all kinds of wild plants along this trail – a highly diverse ecology here. A walk along the trail is an immersion experience of nature's beauty. Farmers' markets are held from time to time outside the visitor center by the trail entrance, selling locally produced agricultural products. Hakka flower picnics and DIY games are also held. At several points of the trail, free tea is served, as tea serving is traditional Hakka public service. There will even be Hakka tea sessions in which tea ceremony experts demonstrate the way of tea. Visitors are encouraged to take part and sip some high quality tea. The much anticipated unplugged music concerts are held to spread good Hakka music around, amid blooming wild Tung flowers.

Immerse in the beauty of Hakka culture and Tung flowers
During the time of the Hakka Tung Blossom Festival, Hakka cultural and arts performances, farmers' markets and creative products fairs will be held alongside Tung flower events. It is expected that in this way, more visitors will come to join the fest, and that the Hakka towns' features, including natural scenery and community culture, can be shown to the public more vividly. The festival is also expected to strengthen ties and foster exchange among Hakka cities and towns, other than drawing crowds of visitors.

Eight unplugged Hakka concerts will be held on four differ days. The unique music will be performed on landscape art sites surrounded by nature. All visitors are cordially invited to open up all senses to immerse in dancing flowers and melodious Hakka music under blooming Tung trees. What a romantic flower trip this will be!