SOKENDAI Review of Cultural and Social Studies


vol.16 (2020)

Development of the Siraya Ethnicity through Night Festival by Siraya People in Taiwan

LU Yiping

Department of Regional Studies,
School of Cultural and Social Studies,
The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI

Key words:

indigenous peoples in taiwan, name correction movement, belief and ritual, ethnic identity

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the significance of Alid belief and the Night Festival of the Siraya, which was utilized as a means to demonstrate their ethnicity as Siraya during the indigenous name correction movement in Taiwan.

The Siraya are one of the plains indigenous groups in Taiwan. It is known that they were sinicized from early on and gradually lost their own culture and social characteristics. To acquire indigenous rights and obtain official indigenous recognition, Sirayas devoted themselves to observation of the Night Festival. For the Siraya, the Night Festival is not only an annual ritual of Alid belief, but also a time for family reunion.

This paper focuses on the process of reshaping the sense of solidarity of the Siraya. The process of preparation for the Night Festival, details of the Night Festival such as Bai-di (a sacrifice for Alid) and Kan-kyo (a dance presented to Alid), and interactions between village residents and outsiders are discussed. The thoughts of village residents are also referenced.

A field survey revealed that the Night Festival, which has been handed down in the Kabuasua village, expanded to involve both local residents and outsiders and the Night Festival and Alid belief served as a unique belief of Siraya people. At the same time, the Night Festival is considered to be an effective means of expressing the ethnicity of the Siraya.