Traditional oil-paper umbrellas are exhibited at Taoyuan Hakka Culture Hall in the northern Taiwan city.(Chin Hung-hao)
- Taiwan is the center of the Mandarin pop music industry.
- National Palace Museum in Taipei City houses one of the largest collections of ancient Chinese artifacts in the world.
Taiwan is renowned for its fascinating blend of traditional and modern culture. To showcase the nation’s history and cultural diversity, museums have been established across Taiwan, including National Palace Museum, National Taiwan Museum and National Museum of History. Traditional architecture abounds, not only in the country’s magnificent temples, but also in the many old structures that have been revitalized for use as community centers, cafes, stores and other public spaces. In fact, many aspects of traditional Chinese arts, crafts and customs are better preserved in Taiwan than anywhere else. For example, Taiwan is one of the few places still using traditional Chinese characters, and calligraphy competitions are always popular events.
Traditional tenets of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism continue to be well represented in everything from temple celebrations and literature to the visual and performing arts. In addition, visitors can learn about the heritages of the country’s Hakka, Holo and indigenous peoples. Taiwan also shares its cultural riches throughout the world via programs such as the Taiwan Academy resource centers.
At the same time, Taiwan’s larger cities are thriving metropolises that offer 24/7 entertainment options. There are highly regarded modern dance troupes, as well as a vibrant music scene, which is hardly surprising as Taiwan is the world capital of Mandopop, or Mandarin pop music. The local television and film sector has seen a resurgence in recent years, while the country’s booming cultural and creative industries are evident in the many designer stores, markets and exhibitions that are growing in number every year.
From literary arts and folk festivals to the lively atmosphere of night markets, Taiwan’s traditions are closely intertwined with everyday life, adding to a thriving culture in which the past gives vitality and depth to the present.
Performers at the 2016 Golden Melody Awards for Traditional Arts and Music highlights aspects of folk religion. (Courtesy of Ministry of Culture)