Hualien's Amis Bird Festival


Did you know that every Indigenous group in Taiwan has its own traditions including the Amis Indigenous group, which is the largest Indigenous group in Taiwan? Every December, the Amis villages in Hualien will carry on the tradition of catching birds as a way of protecting their farm crops and honoring their ancestors. The more birds that are caught, the better the harvest will be next year!

What tradition did I learn about?:

When I arrived in the town of Shoufeng, my student, Hana, welcomed me and explained to me about the Bird Festival, which is referred to as 捕鳥祭 (bu niao ji) in Chinese. While the men prepare the birds for the meal, the women sit inside the activity center and chat with each other. It is important in an Indigenous culture that men and women have different roles. What do you think about that?

Inside the community center, the tables were lined with pots and bowls. Once the birds were ready, the young males in the village distributed the bird meat according to how much each household had bought. Do you think you would try bird meat? When eating the bird meat, village members will also eat sticky rice and drink different kinds of beverages, including rice wine, fruit juice and black tea. The activity center was filled with lots of excitement and after we finished eating, the older women shared a dance with everyone.