By: Sophia Yang, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The official Lantern Festival, better known as Yuan Xiao Jie (元
宵節), falls on February 11, the 15th day of the first lunar month, marking the end of the lunar new year’s celebrations. In Taiwan, Miaoli Hakka descendants across the island usually return to their hometown on this day to clean the graves of their ancestors and prepare to perform a ritual of commemoration the next day.
As one of Taiwan’s key minorities, the Hakka people (客家人) usually visit the graves of their ancestors right after the Lantern Festival and before the traditional Tomb Sweeping Day on April 5 in the Gregorian calendar. Among the major Hakka communities, the one in Miaoli of central Taiwan traditionally chooses to visit the grave sites on the 16th day of the first lunar month, but if that is a working day, they do that on any weekend of the first lunar month. On this day, they usually clear away weeds and wild grasses, put flowers and offerings in front of the grave, light joss sticks and papers, and pray for prosperity and wellness while holding the joss sticks. [FULL STORY]