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Taitung Times Vol.04.2021 - time for taitung
Ear-Shooting Festival
Ear-Shooting Festival
		-Every year after the millet harvest, the Bunun tribe gathers for the “Ear-Shooting Festival.” As the name suggests, this festival features a ceremony in which the tribe’s men and boys shoot the ear of a deer with a bow and arrow. The various rituals and ceremonies performed during this festival transmit essential skills pertaining to Bunun life.	Traditionally, the Bunun were fierce hunters and warriors. Therefore, an important aspect of the “Ear-Shooting Festival” is its coming-of-age ritual that teaches boys how to use a bow and arrow. Before the festival starts, Bunun men go into the mountains to hunt deer. Deer are larger and faster than other game in Taiwan. Therefore, the Bunun revere and respect someone who can bring down a deer.  	Unlike other indigenous tribes in Taiwan, the Bunun traditionally lived over a vast geographic range. In their case, they inhabited the entire expanse of Taiwan’s central mountain range. Due to the Bunun diaspora, the “Ear-Shooting Festival” varies slightly from place to place.	However, there are certain commonalities. First and foremost, upon the men’s return, Bunun women present hunters with millet wine that symbolizes their bravery and courage. Then, there is a ritual firing of rifles and a ceremony that involves the sacrifice of animal bones. Afterwards, Bunun boys shoot arrows at a target from around fifty meters away. The actual target varies sometimes, but the goal is to shoot the smallest part of the target, which is always a deer’s ear. 	After the shooting ceremony, the tribe parcels out the meat from the recent hunt. The tribe must give away all of the meat. If there’s any left over, it’s a bad omen.	Finally, the tribe hosts a banquet . Traditionally, this ceremony served to strengthen bonds between tribesmen, which incidentally meant the willingness to kill their enemies. 	Even though hunting skills aren’t as important in modern life for most Bunun, the Ear-Shooting Festival still serves as a way for the tribe to come together and carry on tradition. Every year, the Bunun welcome the public to come and watch this authentic display of their most important customs.
Mahi-mahi-The people of Chenggong joke that if you haven’t been captured by pirates, then you aren’t a real fisherman. Even though kidnappings are now almost nonexistent, Chenggong’s fishing culture is still alive and vibrant during Mahi Mahi season every spring.
On any given day from March to May, over 50,000 kilograms of Mahi Mahi end up in the Chenggong Fishing Harbor. Once in port, deckhands move quickly to get the fish in the shade and on ice. Every minute the fish is in the sun, its value starts to decrease. 
Visitors are welcome to watch the ensuing fast-paced auctions from 12 to 3pm every day. The auction grounds are relatively clean and odor free with enough space to freely roam amongst the fish.
Before the fish auctions start, buyers stick metal wires into the Mahi Mahi and sniff the leftover residue. Certain scents determine how well the fish has been preserved, and thus the starting price.  
The auction begins with an opening bid, and then buyers casually wag a finger indicating their interest in buying. In under a minute, the fish is sold. As the crowd stoically shuffles over to the next batch of fish, tractors haul the catch away where is often frozen, packed on airplanes and shipped to the US and Japan. 
Experienced captains can earn from $NT 80,000-100,000 a month selling fish during these auctions. However, this high wage comes with risks. Fishing boats now stay north of Orchid Island in order to avoid Filipino pirates. 
Kidnappings are rarely dangerous, but always expensive. Pirates steal the boat, hold the fishermen for up to six months, and demand up to NT $1 million in ransom.
Nowadays, young people from Chenggong often forgo the harsh, boring conditions of fishing life for other jobs. However, earning NT $30,000 to 50,000 a month attracts people from other South East Asian countries to fill the demand for deckhands.
If you’re interested in indulging on what these fishermen bring back, then head to one of Chenggong’s many seafood restaurants during Mahi Mahi season. Their classic takes on this delicious fish have visitors coming back time and time again.
Pigeon Peas - The power of warrior
Pigeon Peas- The Power of a Warrior

Have you ever heard of a pigeon pea? In the past, elders always brought pigeon pea, taro, and sweet potato with them when they went up into the mountains to hunt. Therefore, pigeon peas are also called “warrior beans.” However, pigeon peas are not originally from Taiwan. They were brought in during the Japanese colonial period. Pigeon peas can be planted on barren land, and they are grown from February to November every year. Taiwan’s indigenous tribes love the pigeon pea because of its long growing season. Once pigeon peas are ready to harvest, there are two ways to collect pigeon peas. The first is to cut down the branches and dry them out, and the second is to collect only the dried beans. 
Behind every hunter’s strength, there is a woman back at home helping them out. When a hunter brings game back to the village, the women will cook it with pigeon peas and make “warrior soup.” Pigeon pea has become a traditional dish in indigenous culture. Pigeon pea can also be made into pigeon pea pie. Pigeon pea pie is very hearty and very nutritious. Indigenous women have gone to great lengths to make sure their kids can cook traditional cuisine. This is reflected in modern takes on indigenous recipes as well as traditional ways of making “warrior soup.” Even though it takes a lot to preserve the culinary traditions of yesteryear, it keeps the tribe healthy and acts as a vehicle to transmit culture. 
Although the glory of traditional indigenous hunters is waning, the vitality of the pigeon pea still gives the tribe of the courage to move forward. The concept of “eating slow” for indigenous people is that they eat natural food, and they eat what they have. Moreover, the traditional farming wisdom of the tribe allows a balanced coexistence between the land and the people.
Upcoming Events
・2021 Challenge Taiwan
・Ear-Shooting Festival (Malahodaigian Ritual)
・National Traditional Archery Competition
・Taitung Slow Food Festival

・Sanxiantai Night Tour
・Xiaoyeliu Night Tour
・2021 King Kong Marathon
・Green Island Endurance Swimming Challenge
・2021 Chishang Bamboo Raft Festival
・2021 4th Flowing Lake Endurance Swimming Festival
・2021 Starry Taitung Night Concert – Baxian Caves, Changbin Township
* PLEASE NOTE: Event dates are subject to change or cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please also refer to the websites of specific events for more information