Kinmen's Events and Festivals
Below you will find more information on the various celebrations that happen throughout the year in Kinmen. Expect food, kaoliang, and of course, quality time with friends, staff, and neighbors!
- Ghost Month (August): All of Taiwan observes Ghost Month during August. During Ghost Month, the doors to Heaven and Hell open to the world of the living. You will see stores full to the brim with stacks of yellow paper money, which are burned in small metal furnaces outside homes and shops all day long. Food and drink offerings are also offered up to the ghosts. Many Kinmenese are superstitious and adhere to certain rules to avoid getting on the bad side of the ghost. For example, during this month, some people believe that hanging laundry outside to dry will cause a ghost to inhabit the clothes and then possess the wearer.
- Teacher's Day (September 28): Every school celebrates Teacher's Day differently, but in Kinmen, one thing is for sure: you will receive a beautiful ceramic bottle of Kaoliang Liquor (or two or three) from the Kinmen government to thank you for your work. Your school will likely hold an assembly, give gifts to the teachers, or have the students prepare small gifts or cards.
- Mid-Autumn Festival/Moon Festival (September): The Mid-Autumn Festival is an important tradition in China and Taiwan. It celebrates the harvest, and is a time for family members to get together and express gratitude and ask for future blessings. There are several myths and stories associated with the festival that can offer insight into Taiwanese culture. You will likely receive moon cakes from your school, your neighbors and your friends, and get invited to an outdoor barbecue!
- Zhaishan Tunnel Concert (October): Every October, a crew of highly-regarded classical musicians hold a weekend of concerts at Zhaishan Tunnel near Shuitou Port. The musicians float up and down the water channel on a raft while audience members sit or stand along the walkways and benefit from the tunnel's amazing natural acoustics. Tickets must be purchased online in advance--look out for flyers leading up to October and act quickly! They tickets usually sell out.
- Taro Festival (October): Big Kinmen residents flow to Little Kinmen to celebrate its most treasured agricultural product: taro! Little Kinmen is known for its taro and multitude of delicious dishes that can be made using this versatile purple root. You can dig taro, taste various taro dishes, and take pictures with the taro mascot. Make sure you get on the boat early, as it will be very crowded.
- Double Ten (October 10): This holiday celebrates the Wuchang Uprising of October 10, 1911, which led to the end of the Qing Dynasty and the formation of the R.O.C. A few ETAs are selected from each site to attend the national 10/10 celebration in Taipei, but it is not widely celebrated on Kinmen.
- New Year's Eve (December 31): On the day of, there is a concert and fireworks at the Jincheng gym, as well as smaller family and neighborhood gatherings.
- Kinmen Marathon (Usually January/February): Kinmen's annual marathon attracts runners from all over China, Taiwan, and other countries. You must register for the full marathon, half marathon, or 10K online at a date announced in advance. Keep your eye out for the announcement and get ready to sign up right at the 8 AM registration opening, as it has been known to fill up in a matter of minutes. This is a highly-anticipated event for Kinmen residents, and the whole island comes out to cheer on the runners and participate in the fanfare. There is also a 5K Fun Run that you may register for on the day of. All races start from National Quemoy University.
- Chinese New Year (Usually around February): Chinese New Year is arguably the most important holiday in Taiwanese culture. School gets out for several weeks, so many ETAs take it as an opportunity to travel. The entire island gets decorated in red and lit with lanterns.
- Lantern Festival (February): Leading up to the Lantern Festival, you will start seeing beautiful and creative lanterns go up all over the island. The Confucius Temple in the Jincheng Old Street hosts a lantern contest with submissions from every elementary school on the island, as well as other intricate lantern displays. There is also a big lantern lighting ceremony, performances, and festivities in front of the temple.
- Oyster Festival (April): Kinmen residents celebrate one of its main culinary products through a low-key event every spring. Last year, it was held in Guningtou.
- Children's Day (April 4): Schools and county/township governments usually provide small gifts or red envelops (紅包) for students. Your school may have an assembly or hold a special event, such as an outdoor barbecue.
- Tomb Sweeping Day (April 5): On Tomb Sweeping Day (清明節), families gather together and visit their ancestral graves to tidy up, remember, pray, and offer food and drink to the spirits.
- Mother's Day (May): Taiwan observes Mother's Day the same day as it is celebrate in the U.S. Many schools host Mother's Day assemblies and activities and invite students' mothers to participate. Your students will likely make cards or crafts to give their mothers as well.
- Kinmen Cheng Huang Island God Parade (May): The entire island explodes in color and sound for the annual procession and festival to honor the god of the island, Cheng Huang. Children dress in bright, intricate costumes and paint their faces, and many people dress up in elaborate costumes and masks while banging drums and cymbals.
- Dragon Boat Festival (June): Dragon Boat Festival, or 端午節, is celebrated in China and Taiwan. It commemorates the life and death of Chinese scholar Qu Yuan and falls on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar. Two major customs associated with the festival are the consumption of zongzi (粽子) and dragon boat racing. ETAs in the past have formed dragon boat teams and participated in racing events.