World InfoZone - WIZ Around The World
Thursday 13th June
Ni Hao from Taiwan

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Ni hao from TAIWAN

students from TaiwanA number of students from a school in Taiwan have joined the project. There are thirty-six girls in the class. They all have an English name as well as their own name.

The first girl writes that her hobbies are reading comic books and novels, listening to music and painting.

Another student writes: "I live in Changhua, Taiwan. Taiwan is a nice place ... you should come here one day!!!

My hobbies are to sing, to draw, to listen to music, to watch TV, to play on my computer. And write to "you". And my best subject in school is math and English ... and you??"

Favorite foods include mango, tangerine, pudding, shao-mai (steamed dumplings), cheese, fish and fried shrimp.

We are told that it is very humid and hot in Taiwan and that sometimes it rains a lot.

Emails from students in Taiwan

Holidays and Festivals: The main holidays and festivals in Taiwan may be divided into two major categories: Festivals are associated with the traditional lunar calendar whereas official holidays are celebrated according to the western calendar. The lunar festivals developed from the customs of China's past, and to the celebrants, these occasions are a time for recalling one's cultural origins and remembering the wisdom of early ages. Such festivals include the Chinese New Year Festival, and Lantern Festival, all symbolic of discarding the old and ushering in the new; the Dragon Boat Festival, a time for warding off evil and strengthening the body; the Ghost Festival, when the outcasts from the underworld are given salvation; the Mid-Autumn Festival a celebration of the full moon and unity of mankind; and Double Ninth Festival is to remember the olders.

Official commemorative holidays are primarily based on the achievements of the people and are celebrated to remember events important to the development of the nation. These occasions include the Founding Day of the Republic of China; 228 Memorial Day; Women's Day; Youth Day; Children's Day; Tomb Sweeping Day; Armed Forces Day; Teachers' Day; and days commemorating the decisive events of the ROC's history, including Double Tenth National Day; Taiwan's Retrocession Day; and Constitution Day to name a few.

New Year's Eve and Chinese New Year: A time of gratitude and family togetherness, New Year's Eve is spent by bidding farewell to the old year and thanking one's ancestors and the gods for their blessing and protection. Children who have left their hometowns return on this day to share New Year's Eve Dinner with their families, and for those unable to make the journey, a table setting is placed to symbolize their presence in spirit if not in body. At the end of dinner, the parents and older generation give New Year's money to the children, who have been waiting with growing anticipation for this moment to arrive. Finally, to watch the old year out and bring in the new year, families stay up until the early hours of New Year's Day.

With the arrival of New Year's Day, life is renewed and the new year begins to unfold amidst the noise of firecrackers. The Chinese begin the day by worshipping their ancestors, following which the streets become filled with people making New Year's visits to friends and relatives and with the lively display of dragon dancing, lion dancing, and other folk activities. To insure the arrival of luck and wealth in the new year, several taboos must be heeded. Floors may not be swept and garbage may not be disposed for fear of casting riches out the door; quarreling is to be avoided at all costs; and anyone who breaks a dish on this day must quickly say "Peace for all time," to avoid incurring misfortune.

Lantern Festival: On the night of the festival, decorative lanterns depicting birds, beasts, historical figures, and any one of a number of different themes are carried by children or adorn temples. To highlight these glowing works of art, competitions are held. The Taipei Lantern Festival, held annually at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Plaza and the largest and most famous of these competitions, is attended every year by thousands of lantern-watchers. The Lantern Festival is further enriched by the customary lantern riddle parties that are held on this night.

The night sky on Lantern Festival is also illuminated by the Tainan Yanshui Fireworks Display and Taipei Pinghsi Sky Lanterns - known together as Fireworks in the South, Sky Lanterns in the North, as well as many other regional folk activities.

In addition to displaying and appreciating lanterns, Lantern Festival is also celebrated by eating tang yuan, an important custom symbolizing family unity and indispensable to the day's festivities.

Children's Day: After the conference, various governments around the world designated a day, different in each country, as Children's Day, to encourage and bring joy to children as well as to draw the attention of society to children's issues. Children's Day is celebrated in the ROC on April 4.

Children's Day is a time of festivity for our nation's young. The occasion is marked by the Children's Day Celebration honoring model students from around Taiwan and by numerous parent-children activities sponsored by government and civic organizations. Thus, the day not only lets the kids become king for a day, but also helps to strengthen the bond between parents and their children.

In recent years, children's issues have gained greater attention in Taiwan, leading to the founding of several child welfare groups. With passage of the Children's Welfare Law, the rights of young people have been given legal protection so that the future leaders of the nation can live a life free from worry and uncertainty.

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Thanks to the Information Division, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, New York for the photographs. (Source: The Republic of China Yearbook 2000)

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