TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Flying Fish”(小飛魚文化展演隊), an indigenous Tao children's group from Lanyu’s Yayu Elementary School (椰油國小), will perform a traditional folk dance at the 27th Festival of the Children of Mountains, the Liberty Times reports.
“The Flying Fish” arrived at Nowy Sącz, Poland, to attend the opening ceremony of the festival on July 21. However, the festival's organizers provided the group with a red, five-starred Chinese flag, which the group refused to use.
The principal of Yayu Elementary School, Chen Shu-wen (陳淑雯), wrote on Facebook that the Chinese embassy had “expressed concern” to the organizers, who thus mistakenly prepared a Chinese flag. “Thanks to [the flag], our teachers all recovered immediately from the jet lag,” she added.
The 27th Festival of the Children of Mountains began July 21 and will run through July 28, and The Flying Fish is scheduled to perform a Tao folk dance on July 25. Six Polish children ensembles are paired up with six foreign ones each day in a cultural exchange.
"The Flying Fish” was established in 2006 to promote the Taiwanese tribe's dance and music traditions. It has received multiple awards domestically, has seen its story adapted into a movie, "Long Time no Sea” (只有大海知道), and empowered its young members to be proud of their heritage.
The Tao people, known as the "Yami" during Taiwan's Japanese colonial period, are an aboriginal Austronesian ethnic group that lives on Orchid Island, also known as "Lanyu." The island lies approximately 90 kilometers off the southeastern coast of Taiwan.
The group's opening performances reflected different gender roles in traditional Tao culture. Tao men typically wear a loincloth and collarless vest while catching flying fish in wooden boats, while women perform Maligni, a ritual in which dancers flip their hair back and forth to pray for a safe journey and good catch.