The third annual Hakka National Day (全國客家日活動), themed “Live Healthy; Love the Earth” (環保，樂活，愛地球), kicks off its two-day celebration today with a jubilant array of events, including of dancing, music, deity worship, DIY paper crafts and walking campaigns.
Launched by the Cabinet-level Council for Hakka Affairs (CHA, 客家委員會), the monumental event is set for the 20th day of the first month of the Lunar New Year, called “Sky Mending Day” (天穿日), which in this year's case falls on March 1.
The council hopes that by using this celebration day, the concepts of environmental protection and the healthy lifestyle of the Hakka people can be passed on to future generations, and furthermore be introduced to the entire world.
According to Minister Huang Yu-cheng (黃玉振), a growing number of communities have participated in the annual event since its inception in 2011, including 85 communities from Taiwan and seven countries — the U.S., Canada, Australia, Brazil, Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia.
This celebration collected Hakka celebrators from around the world, making the event worthy of its name — International Hakka Day — said Huang.
Legend has it that on the 20th day of the first month, the goddess Nuwa (女媧) mended a hole in the sky with a five-colored stone. The hole was a cause of furious discord among the deities of the heavens, who sacrificed millions of people's lives on Earth.
Huang added that the celebration event extends the legend of Nuwa in touching on environmental protection. Hopefully, he said, the nation will understand the Hakka's concepts of healthy living and a clean environment.
The celebration today will be held at the Hakka Cultural Park (客家文化發展中心苗栗園區) of Miaoli (苗栗), where participants can engage in DIY art crafts made from recycled paper as a symbol of environmental sustainability. In addition, the council will give out limited “paper stools” made out of thick, recycled cardboard in line with the event's theme.
The second day, the CHA will feature an enormous walking campaign to promote the theme of a healthy lifestyle. Participants will begin from Chuan-Hau Hall (勸化堂) in Miaoli (苗栗) and finish at the Lion Head Visitor Center (獅山旅客中心) in Emei Township (峨眉) of Hsinchu (新竹).
From this recreational Hakka activity, the CHA hopes that participants will acknowledge the beauty of the Earth and the importance of preserving its natural resources, in-line with the theme — “Love Life, Love the Earth”— of the Hakka National Day.