Bunun Ear Shooting Festival
If someone mentioned an “Ear-Shooting Festival,” you might know it were an indigenous festival, but wonder what exactly happens there. For the Bunun tribe, the Ear-Shooting Festival is the most spectacular festival of the year. It is also known as the “Deer Ear Festival,” or in the Bunun language, Malahtangia, which means to shoot the ear of a deer.
The Bunun tribe is famous for its talented hunters. The Ear-Shooting Festival is the Bunun’s coming of age ritual for boys as well as an important hunting ceremony. Before the ceremony begins, the men from the tribe head into the mountains to hunt for wild deer. Why wild deer? Deer are harder to bring down than other animals because they are large, fast and have an acute sense of hearing. For members of the Bunun, someone is a true warrior if they can hunt wild deer. After the hunt, they will take a deer’s ear and nail it to an altar. Then, boys who have not yet come of age will take turns trying to shoot the ear with a bow and arrow. This process is one of passing the proverbial torch. The ceremony symbolizes passing down the art of hunting, and the bravery of a hunter, from one generation to the next. In addition, during the festival, the Bunun also pray for an abundant harvest and successful hunting expeditions in the upcoming year.
The Ear-Shooting Festival takes place every year in April or May after the millet harvest. The period when the millet fields lay fallow also coincides with the end of the hunting season. For the Bunun, the Ear-Shooting Festival is like the Lunar New Year for Han Taiwanese. It’s a special time to get together with family and celebrate. The Ear-Shooting Festival’s most important ceremonies include the “Pre-Hunt Gun Salute,” the “Ear-Shooting Ceremony,” the “Meat Parceling and Bone Offering Ceremony” and the “Post-Hunt Banquet.” The Bunun are very warm and welcoming. They always invite the public to come watch their rituals, a wide variety of performances and competitions that feature traditional skills. Deepen your understanding of Bunun culture, feel the spirit of togetherness and enjoy what brings the tribe pride and joy. If you come to the festival, please remember to respect traditional customs and all of the rituals. Don’t talk loudly during the ceremonies or do anything else to impede any of the rituals.
（Photo：Haitutuan Office FB）
Date: April 10, 2021 (Saturday)
Location: No. 56, Neighborhood 2, Haiduan Village, Haiduan Township, Taitung County (Bunun Cultural Museum)
Time: 08:00 AM – 03:00 PM