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Dongshan Kabua Sea Howling Festival: Siraya Ancestral Worship

Dongshan Kabua Sea Howling Festivall began on Oct. 3 on the road by the Kabua (shrine). Siraya people raised rice and other foods in their hands to venerate their ancestors who died on the sea while crossing the ocean to come to Taiwan. Then the priest began his ritual, inviting the deities and the spirits to come to the festival, while Siraya women sang the ancient chienchu beside the altar. Finally, the ceremony of collecting the rice and foods was conducted. The entire Festival lasted about 1.5 hours.


The unique traditional soul appeasing ceremony was held in this year’s festival. Tribespeople with a family member who passed away less than one year ago were asked to invite the spirits of their dead relatives to the ceremonial ground by the Kabua Sea Howling Festival. The priest blessed the sprits so that both the deceased and the living family members could be comforted.

Tainan is filled with hidden cultural assets from different ethnic groups. The Dongshan Kabua Sea Howling Festival showcased the Siraya people’s traditional religion that remembers ancestors. This year, the Country Cultural Festival hosted various ceremonies in Tainan, taking the public into the rural areas of the city to learn about different seasonal festivals. The Kabua Sea Howling Festival’s conclusion also marked the end of the Tainan Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage’s Country Cultural Festival events for this year.