Chiao Festival

Chiao Festival (Rite of Cosmic Renewal)

Every 60 years
Also spelled Jiao, this ancient festival is traditionally held about every 60 years all over Taiwan. The specific date is determined by a committee of the local priest and town leaders. The Rite of Cosmic Renewal serves to "rededicate" the local temple as well as renew the whole community. The festival can also be held more frequently in order to raise funds for repairing the temple.
People prepare for this important occasion by performing acts of penance and purification, cleansing, repairing and adorning the temple, and inviting the gods and family ancestors to attend the festival, which may last about three days.
Several priests may be enlisted to perform the various rituals of the Chiao Festival, some of which are carried out in private. Public rituals include a presentation of offerings, readings from sacred works, lighting a new fire outside and inside the temple, and dances. People go to enormous effort to prepare a huge banquet for the last day of the festival, to which all the deceased are formally invited by the "floating of the lanterns" the day before. Elaborate floats accompany representatives of each family in the community in a procession to a nearby body of water into which everyone releases a paper lantern on a small raft. The following day the entire community looks like a smorgasbord, with dishes set out in front of homes and more food filling the temple. The festive atmosphere is enhanced by puppet shows, operas, and other attractions.
CONTACTS:
Taipei Economic & Cultural Office
Information Division
90 Park Ave., 31st Fl.
New York, NY 10016
212-557-5122; fax: 212-557-3043