Baiming Festival in Ban Li Town on Beigan Island (Taiwan off Coast of China)
By Kevin Stoda, February 15, 2011
This morning, as I arrived on board the small ferry (from Nangan Island) to Beigan Island, I was astounded to see a large butchered carcass on the flooring near the back of the boat. The creature was likely the remains of a large pig.
I should note that pork is the "staple Chinese meat" and "has long symbolized wealth." Part of the flooring on that ferry was a bit bloodied all the way to the passenger area. This particular pig was obviously planned to be part of the Baiming Festiv al that day in Ban Li Town, where I live in.
According to one regional website, " In celebrating the lunar new year in Matsu, less emphasis is placed on the first day of the year than on the Lantern Festival that concludes the celebration on the 15th day, when the Baiming and Yingshen religious events are held. These are the largest and most lively traditional events in Matsu each year, and Matsu natives living all over Taiwan return to take part in the festivities. The community celebrations greatly enliven villages whose populations have largely moved elsewhere."
More interesting still for me is that several people from mainland China (mainly Fuzhou) have showed up again to take part in these local festivals as the cultural thaw between the two China's continues in terms of social events--even while Cold-War-era-like espionage issues continue to be topics of the day in the national press this February 2011.