Taiwanese musical warms up one of Taiwan’s most celebrated religious festivals

(photo taken from 大溪大禧 daxidaxi Facebook page)

(photo taken from 大溪大禧 daxidaxi Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—A Taiwanese musical whose cast includes professional performers and local people took place on a stage in the old district of Daxi, Taoyuan City on Saturday (July 28) evening, attracting a large audience.

The musical, which combines songs, dialogue, acting and dance, unfolds a touching story involving the protagonist who is a patriarch of a family in Daxi, the strong bond between him and his grandson, and their devotion to participating in the town’s century-old religious parade to celebrate the birthday of Guan Yu (aka Guan Gong), the god of war, loyalty, and bravery highly regarded by people of Daxi, on June 24 of the lunar calendar.

The god’s birthday falls on August 5 this year, but the parade will start from the Puju Temple in the old district in the evening of August 4, sending the whole town into a frenzy of religious festival that continues on the next day. The festival is so merry in nature that it is regarded by people of Daxi as “the second Lunar New Year.”

The 70-minute-long musical was performed on a stage set up on the Canopy Basketball Court in front of the Daxi Elementary School. In addition to 7 professional performers, an amateur team made up of 11 local residents, 8 students from Daxi Senior High School’s dance study club, and members of two local civic groups also participated in the performance.

Local resident Lee Hou-bin (李後斌), who played the protagonist, praised all the participating amateurs, saying that it took them a lot of time and practice to make the show fluid.

According to event organizer Taoyuan City Government, it is the first time they have attempted to include musical theater into the annual activity series in the lead up to Daxi’s Guan Gong Birthday Celebration, one of the most celebrated religious festivals and most valuable intangible cultural heritages in Taiwan.

The musical will be performed again at the same venue today (July 29), beginning at 7 p.m.