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Beauty of Ethnic Groups | Cultural Taiwan | Office of Global Mandarin Education


Discover Taiwan

Taiwanese ethnic groups are generally divided into Taiwanese indigenous groups and the Hans. The former is classified into 16 ethnic groups, Amis, Atayal, Puyuma, Bunun, Paiwan, Yami (Tao), Rukai, Tsou, Saisiyat, Thao, Kavalan, Taroko, Sakizaya, Seediq, Kanakanavu and Saaroa. The latter is classified into Holo Taiwanese, Hakka Taiwanese and mainlanders. These years the number of immigrants increases. These immigrants are named the Taiwanese new immigrants, becoming a new type of beauty of Taiwanese ethnic diversity.

The Hans

  • Holo Taiwanese

    Holo Taiwanese accounts for the largest proportion of Han Taiwanese and their ancestry is in Quanzhou City or Zhangzhou City in Fujian Province, or Chaozhou City in Guangdong Province. Post-1949 immigrants are called the mainlanders and Holo Taiwanese are mostly called the islanders.

    Minnan is the main language of Holo Taiwanese. Throughout hundreds of years of historical changes and ethnic exchange, Minnan combines with Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and other languages, and becomes Taiwanese Hokkien. Creation, education and studies of Taiwanese Hokkien are flourishing these years. Numerous colleges and universities has established departments and research units for Taiwanese language. PTS Taigi was founded for mass entertainment. The beautiful, unique Taiwanese Hokkien and Minnan Culture are integrated with Taiwanese characteristics and passed down. Development of creative works of Taiwanese Hokien arts is rising. These works include traditional dramas, such as Taiwanese opera and puppet show, and Liam Kua, a type of songs with unique Taiwanese flair. There are also lots of famous modern pop songs of Taiwanese Hokkien. Owing to the early development of industries, Mazu belief is specially respected in religion of Taiwanese Hokkien.

    (PTS Taigi: https://taigi.pts.org.tw/)

  • Hakka Taiwanese

    Hakka Taiwanese accounts for the second highest population of Han Taiwanese. Their ancestry is mostly in Jiaying County and Chaozhou Township in Guangdong Province, and Dingzhou City in Fujian Province. Hakka Taiwanese mostly live in Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Kaohsiung and Huadong Valley.

    Hakka accents are divided into Sixian, Hailu, Dapu, Raoping and Shao-an based on the percentage of population. The Hakka Affairs Council has been established to promote Hakka affairs, mother tongue education and Hakka culture heritance. Art creation, research and development of Hakka these years have been thriving. The characteristics of Hakka are beautiful and charming.

    Traditional Hakka music is primarily the Mountain Song, Siping Tea-picking Opera, Tea-picking Opera and Hakka Grand Opera. Nowadays Hakka pop song is gradually prospering.

    Hakka Tung Blossom Festival is held from April to June. Tung blossoms resemble snow in May. Hakka Yimin Festival, held in July, has been around over 220 years. It is for worshipping ancestors who died bravely fighting the army of the Qing Dynasty.

    In addition to gods the Hans pray to, Hakka has its own gods, including the Three Mountain Kings and the Lord of the Righteous.

    (Hakka Affairs Council: https://english.hakka.gov.tw/)
    (Museum of Hakka Languages for New Taipei City: https://www.hakka-language.ntpc.gov.tw/)
    (Tourism Bureau – Hakka cultural activities: https://eng.taiwan.net.tw/m1.aspx?sNo=0002024)

  • Mainlanders

    The term mainlander is differentiated from the islanders, referring to the immigrants of Fujian and Guangdong Provinces during Ming and Qing Dynasties. The mainlanders are the immigrants of provinces all over China immigrated to Taiwan after the Civil War of 1949.

    The distinction between the mainlanders and islanders is diminished throughout ethnic integration in Taiwan.
    Mainlanders play an important role in Taiwanese history, literature and culture.

    The culture of military dependents’ village, veteran care and nostalgic literature are characteristics of the mainlanders.

  • Taiwanese indigenous peoples

    Taiwanese indigenous peoples are classified into 16 ethnic groups, Amis, Atayal, Puyuma, Bunun, Paiwan, Yami (Tao), Rukai, Tsou, Saisiyat, Thao, Kavalan, Taroko, Sakizaya, Seediq, Kanakanavu and Saaroa. The latter is classified into Holo Taiwanese, Hakka Taiwanese and mainlanders. Each group has its primary regional distribution and its own clothes, rituals, cultures and customs. Mostly Taiwanese indigenous peoples awe in Heaven, Earth, nature, ancestral spirit, ghost and god. They pay respect to these through singing, dancing and ritual, which evolve into festivals exclusive to each group.

    For instance, Atayal and Taroko hold the Ancestral Spirits Festival. Bunun holds the Ma-naq-tainga. Amis holds the Sacepo and Malalikit. Puyuma holds the Mangamangayau. Tsou holds the Mayasvi. Saisiyat holds the Pas-taai. Thao holds the New Year Festival. Saaroa holds the Takiaru. Paiwan holds the Maleveq. Tao holds the Flying Fish Festival. Rukai holds the Katupaydiyan. Abundance and diversity of Taiwanese indigenous peoples, and uniqueness of the culture of each group, are revealed in these festivals.

    (Council of Indigenous Peoples: https://www.cip.gov.tw/en/index.html)
    (Taiwan ‘s Indigenous Peoples Portal: http://www.tipp.org.tw/)
    (Tourism Bureau – Activities of Taiwanese indigenous peoples: https://eng.taiwan.net.tw/m1.aspx?sNo=0002023)

  • Taiwanese new immigrants

    Taiwanese new immigrants are the ones immigrating to Taiwan these years owing to frequent exchange between Taiwan and the country of origin of these immigrants. Most of them are from Southeast Asian countries. The culture of these immigrants integrates with local Taiwanese characteristics and adds a new, beautiful flair to the culture of ethnic diversity in Taiwan.