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Taiwan’s Controversial “Pigs Of God” Festival

By John Saboe | Taiwan

Sep 13
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This was truly an interesting experience visiting the Yimin Festival in Hsinchu County. My friend MJ and I set out to see one of the most unique cultural events in Taiwan, The Pigs Of God that are offered every year for the Yimin Festival held during the 7th month of the lunar calendar in Hsinchu County and other communities where Hakka people reside.

The Hakka are the second largest ethnic group of Taiwan with a population of approximately 4.6 million in total, with the majority of the population residing in Hsinchu, Taoyuan, and Miaoli Counties in Taiwan.

The Yimin Festival has become a controversial cultural event, mostly for the pigs that are purposely force-fed to extreme weights of over 800kg. This tradition actually does not go back to the beginning of the event but only began a few decades ago. Some influencial people in the Hakka community have called for the end of the force-feeding practise but it still continues today in many communities around Taiwan including Hsinchu county.

After discovering the Pigs of God are not on display at the Yimin Temple in Hsinpu, one of the most significant temples and cultural centers of Hsinchu County we got directions to the closest site where we could see some of the pigs on display.

To my surprise the event, held at one spot in Zhubei City this year, was not entirely made up of the force-fed pigs, but also included regularly raised pigs that were slaughtered for the festival.
People also bring goats, chickens, and ducks, to offer Yimin. In Hakka culture Yimin are actually men that lost their lives defending the Qing Dynasty from rebels in the 18th century. You can read more about them here:https://festival.hakka.gov.tw/Festival-Content.aspx?a=816&l=2

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About the Author

I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.