Regarded as Taiwan’s ‘City of Culture’, Taichung boasts excellent ancient and cultural attractions, institutions and events. These include some of the finest museums, temples, historical sites and art galleries in the country. While most of these scenic spots concentrate more on the local culture, there are occasional international events happening in the city. Moreover, Taichung’s concert halls are the venue of various cultural events, from Western music to classic Chinese to operas and plays. While the culture and festivals in Taichung seem greatly influenced by the modernity, traditional cultures and beliefs are still generally followed and applied.
Knowing the traditional beliefs and culture of the locals in Taichung helps travelers lessen ignorance and understand diversity. It also enables the person to be polite and show proper respect. Tourists traveling to Taichung should study traditional greetings and introductions. During introduction, Taiwanese prefer to be introduced formally, particularly when making first contact. They also tend to not express too much emotion so what seems like ‘unfriendliness’ should not be misinterpreted. Furthermore, travelers should stand up when introduced and keep standing during the entire introduction until everyone is introduced. Giving business cards is quite common but make certain you accept it with both hands and never put it immediately into your wallet or bag as it is considered rude.
The culture and festivals in Taichung are mostly based on their religion, folk customs or ancient history. There is at least one festival or cultural event celebrated every month, which includes some nationally observed festivals including Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat Festival, Lantern Festival and Moon Festival. Most people have some distinct activities in celebrating these festivities. One of the significant reasons to celebrate is to show the meaning of family bonding through holidays. As such, these celebrations put great emphasis on family values.
In addition, gift giving is one important aspect during celebrations and festivals. On certain occasions, various colors play a significant role in cultural symbolism. Take for instance gold, which stands for the imperial family, while red means prosperity, good luck and happiness. White is traditionally used for funerals, as it is the color of death. As such, avoid using white gift wrappers when giving gifts.
Besides cultural and religious festivals, one popular music festival is the Taichung Jazz Festival, which is celebrated during October. Started since 2003, the festival takes place in the JingGuo parkway and in Civilina Plaza. The festival programs include various cultural activities that promote cultural exchange among foreign artists and festivalgoer.
Some holidays and festivals are considered official national holidays which means there is time off from school or work such as the National Day in October 10, Tomb Sweeping Day on April 4-6, Peace Memorial Day on February 28, Labor Day on May 1, Founding Day of the Republic etc. Other culture and festivals in Taichung that are not considered official holiday include Youth Day, Ghost Festival, Confucius Birthday on September 28, Taiwan Retrocession Day, Chiang-Kai Sek’s Birthday on October 31, Sun-Yat Sen’s Birthday on November 12 and Constitution Day on December 25. Almost all these festivals bring colorful and vibrant spirit to Taichung City, and in turn, let travelers and visitors taste authentic local Chinese and Taiwanese cuisines.