The 2018 Hakka Festivals has returned this year with a total of thirteen local Hakka festivals and other Hakka-themed cultural activities, which will be running from February to November across cities and towns in Taiwan. Selected by the Hakka Affairs Council last year, the featured festivals include traditional festivals that embody significant Hakka culture and history as well as innovative festivals that will reinterpret local Hakka lifestyle from a cultural perspective. Initiated by the Council, the festival program aims to discover local Hakka festivals and deepen community engagement in Hakka villages. It will present Hakka spirit and highlight the value and characteristics of Taiwanese Hakka festivals, and push for the registration of Hakka cultural heritages as national cultural heritage. Featured festivals and events: “Dragon Bombing” Dragon Dance: Launched in 1999, the “Dragon Bombing” festival was held for the first time by Miaoli City to revitalize traditional Hakka folk culture. As a Hakka version of Lantern Festival today, performances such as Hakka dragon dance, lion dance, and parade will be presented during the “Dragon Bombing” in Miaoli. Xin Ding Ban (新丁粄) Festival: In the traditional Hakka society, Hakka people offered rice dishes to God to pray for a baby. Today, the festival is not only held to preserve the traditional Hakka custom but also encourage couples to have more children and promote gender equality. Liu-dui Blessing Pole-firecrackers Beating: The festival is established to offer insights into Hakka ancestors’ brave defense against enemies who tried to invade their homes during their early settlement in Liudui District of Pingtung. Zhudong Tian-Chuan Day Taiwan Hakka Folk Songs Singing Contest: Based in Zhudong Township, the singing contest is the oldest and largest contest of its kind in Taiwan. The contest seeks to preserve Hakka culture and tradition and highlight the cultural meaning of “Tain-Chuan Day (Sky Mending Day),” a traditional festival that commemorates goddess Nüwa. Liudui Festival: Returning to its 53rd edition, the festival is to commemorate the Hakka immigrants who safeguarded Hakka villages in early years. It also seeks to encourage young Hakka people to return to Liudui to participate in local affairs and revive Hakka culture. Hakka Tung Blossom Festival: Under the theme of Tung flowers, the festival is to present the Hakka’s respect toward sky, land, and forests. The vitality of Tung flowers also reflects Hakka people’s strong spirit. Hakka Fishing Festival: To pass down the traditional skills of Taiwanese Beach Seine (牽罟), which is one of the oldest fishing techniques in Taiwan, the festival will offer beach seining experience, exhibitions, and tours to Hakka fishing villages. Yi-Wei Hakka War Cultural Festival: The festival is established to help the public learn about “Yimin (義民),” which refers to Hakka men who formed a militia to protect the island of Taiwan during the Japanese invasion of Taiwan in 1895. Following the war, they had continued serving to protect Hakka communities during the Qing dynasty. Taichung Ciao Sheng Sian Shih Cultural Festival: “Ciao Sheng Sian Shih (巧聖先師),” who was originally a pioneering craftsman called Lu Ban (魯班) in ancient times, is a deity worshiped by craftsmen and skilled workers today. The festival is established to advocate his spirit and enhance professional education. Battle of the King of Drummers: The festival seeks to pass down Hakka folk culture by offering a platform for Hakka performance groups to practice and present their works. Hsinchu Hakka Yimin Festival: Combining the Xinpu-based Pear Festival, the Hakka Yimin Festival will help revive traditional culture and art of Hsinchu and advocate the spirit of Yimin. It also seeks to boost local tourism industry and raise awareness of Hakka culture. Zhao-an Hakka Festival: As a local cultural event of Hakka groups in Yunlin, the festival is to revitalize the dwindling culture of “Zhao-an (詔安),” a Hakka group that are originally from Chinese Province of Fujian. The festival will offer tours to local cultural destinations for understanding culture of Zhao-an. Chenggong Festival: To promote the Hakka township of Guoxing and local custom, religion, and culture, the festival will offer diverse events for the visitors to experience Hakka culture and food and explore local cultural destinations. Rice Harvest Festival: During the Japanese colonial era, many Hakka people relocated to eastern county of Taitung to grow rice and other agricultural products. The festival is to help the public understand that Hakka culture is also an important part of Taitung. Hakka Wedding & Party: Since the first Hakka blue cloth wedding held in Kaohsiung in 2013, the Hakka Wedding & Party has become an annual event that attracts Hakka and non-Hakka couples to hold their weddings together. Hakka customs, food, and music will be presented during the event for the participants to learn about Hakka culture.