The Holy Pig Festival in Sanxia, Taiwan

On January, 30th. 2020, I went to a a very curious tradition in Taiwan.

The Holy Pig (Shen Zu – 神豬) Festival in Sanxia (a traditional district in New Taipei City in northern Taiwan) according to its annual Lunar New Year. Local pig farmers compete to display the largest pig, the winner takes home a trophy every year and they are sacrificed to the local god. The annual festival marks the birthday of the Chinese deity Zushi and was held in a square outside the Zushi Temple. Each year one Clan Family is responsible to host the ceremony, this year (2020) was the Lin. There are a total of 7 clans that host this ceremony, so after 6 years the Lin Clan will host again, after Huang, Chen, Liu and other threes.

Many Holy Pigs up weights near 900 kg whereas a normal pig would weigh only 120 kg. After the sacrifice in the night before their skin is stretched to a metal frame, looking even bigger than the abnormal big animal. A whole pineapple is not forgotten to put into their mouths and a parade starts the next early morning. Some food like a whole chicken and a still alive fish is also part of the feast.

There is a displayed list of each Lin family’s clan with their respective donation made to the temple each year. In the past the feast was for free for all the invitees and the public, but now the pork is sold for more than USD 55/kg.

More infos::

Taiwan Travel

Sky Lantern Festival in Pingxi (Taiwan)

February 1st and 8th, 2020.,121.7612448,11.33z

The Taiwan Sky Lantern Festival in Pingxi district (平溪) is listed as a top 20 world festival. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Taiwan. Releasing lanterns in Taiwan during the world-famous Taiwan Sky Lantern Festival in (Shifen Village) Pingxi DIstrict is magical to watch. The paper lanterns float to the sky in the mountains of Taiwan during the Lantern Festival and Moon Festival in the fall. Last year a giant pig lantern was release, it was the year of the pig (see the video bellow). You can release the sky lanterns (some countries called it balloon) at any time and any date OR during the mass ascensions of the lanterns event at the evening that make this festival unique. I heard there are similar events in China and also in Thailand.

I have been twice in the past 3 years living in Taiwan. It was packed of people from everywhere! The first time I went by train and regretted and the second time I knew about a easier way to go and that is by bus!

This year there will be 2 mass events on Feb. 1st and 8th. starting at 6 p.m. To attend the mass event you need to book in advance, I think you can do it at the site.

How to go from Taipei? The easier way to go is taking the bus from Taipei to Shifen (don’t drop off in Pingxi Village). The road to Shifen is closed to traffic for the Lantern Festival to make getting to and from Pingxi more efficient. Tour operators offer options for a shuttle bus from Taipei, Keelung or Jiufen. Take the subway (MRT) to Taipei Zoo MRT station. A shuttle bus service typically starts at 9 a.m. from the Taipei Zoo MRT station for $50 NT or $15 NT from Ruifang train station to Shifen. The return trip is free. It takes around 1 hour or less and you can go and back seated, there are many buses specially for this event.