A Stroll Around Beigan


2018 / June

Jimmy Lin /photos courtesy of Jimmy Lin

If you come at Lantern Festival to Bei­gan, an island in the Ma­tsu chain, you will be there at just the right time for the “Bai­ming Carnival.” In Fu­zhou dialect, bai­ming refers to the ritual whereby, in the period around Lantern Festival, each village sets a specific night on which to worship the deities, laying out all kinds of foods as offerings. This is one of Ma­tsu’s most important folk culture events, and many Ma­tsu people living in Taiwan proper return home at this time for the festivities.

Mindong (Eastern Fu­jia­nese) architecture is a distinctive feature of Ma­tsu. ­Qinbi Village on Bei­gan is the best-preserved and most representative Min­dong settlement. Facing the sea, their backs to the hills, the village’s stone buildings are arranged in a charmingly haphazard way, following the local terrain. Since being renovated the old houses have regained their vitality, and as homestays and restaurants have moved in, tourists have come here too. Staring dreamily out to sea and letting one’s mind go empty for a while brings a kind of simple happiness.                                                    

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