中文

The Atayal

Myth and Celebration

The Atayal are well known for the paramount importance that traditional rites and ceremonies play in their lives. Through an amalgam of myths, legends and totems, very distinct cultural and religious beliefs are shaped that form the core of the Atayal value system and collective ancestral memory. Most of the tribe’s rituals are highly formalized and solemn.

  • Ancestor Worship Festival: Every year after the autumn harvest has been collected and stored away, the Atayal will worship their ancestors in a pious ritual, thanking them for looking after the living descendants and protecting them throughout the year.
  • Land Cultivation Festival: Every year around the New Year, the Atayal elders take the entire tribe on an expedition into the nearby mountains to explore the territory and look for a fertile plot of land where to perform the Raraong, a divination ritual. If the result is favorable, the tribe will cultivate the new land.
  • Sowing Festival: This is much less well-known than some of the other Atayal festivals. Some time between February and March, the chief calls together the members of the tribe to discuss the preparations for the sowing season. A fire is built before the festival begins, and it may not be allowed to go out during the entire proceedings.
  • Harvest Festival: The chief convenes the tribe for deliberation on the upcoming harvest. Rules are laid down, and friends and family are invited to help each other. Before the actual harvest begins, the Da sa ing, or harvest ritual, is performed.
  • Hunting Festival: The head of the tribe assembles the tribespeople for a meeting to pick a day for the big hunt. The prey is brought back and shared with the whole tribe. The event is celebrated with much eating, drinking and dancing.