TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In celebration of the Philippine's annual Masskara Festival, hundreds of people in "smiling" masks and colorful costumes will parade through the streets of Taipei on Sunday (Sept. 20).
The cultural parade, organized by the Taipei Department of Civil Affairs, will start from St Christopher's Church in Zhongshan District at 3 p.m. Sunday and end at Qingguang Park. The city government said all new immigrants and migrant workers from the Philippines and other countries are welcome to participate.
Lan Shih-tsung (藍世聰), commissioner of the Taipei Department of Civil Affairs, explained that the festival is intended to bring positive energy to the community amid the coronavirus pandemic as well as celebrate the city's diversity and cultural inclusiveness. He said more than 20 new immigrant groups have registered to walk in the parade with Masskara and their self-made costumes.
Taipei Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤) pointed out that approximately 56,000 new immigrant families and 45,000 migrant workers currently live in the city. He said they have brought exciting cultural elements into Taipei and he hopes the Masskara Festival can bring different ethnic groups together through their smiles, reported Liberty Times.
Besides the street dancing parade, the event features treasure hunting activities as well as the Masskara Design Competition at the Qingguang Commercial Area (晴光商圈). Colorful masks will also be given away at the plaza next to EEC Global TK on Zhongshan N. Road to people who want to join the parade.
Also known as the "Festival of Smiles," the Masskara began in 1980 in the Philippine city of Bacolod during a period of economic crisis. The price of sugar cane, the primary source of income for the province, was at an all-time low, so the local government decided to launch the event to pull the residents out of the pervasive gloom.
Since then, the Massakara has become one of the foremost festivals in the Philippines and is celebrated every October.
Colorful masks to be featured at Masskara Festival parade. (Taipei City Government photo)
Schedule of Sunday's Masskara Festival. (Taipei City Government image)