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Besides Chinese residents-southern Fujianese and Hakkas--the Hualien-Taitung area of eastern Taiwan also boasts rich indigenous cultural resources.
Although there is no longer very much difference between the lifestyles of the indigenous and the Chinese, the indigenous tribes continue to keep up their traditional cultures and customs. This is expressed most strikingly in their annual harvest festivals and other ritual celebrations, through which they pass on their culture to the younger generations. The Bununs hold their Ear Shooting Festival in April, the Paiwans' Bamboo Pole Festival in July or August every five years, the Puyumas' Monkey Festival, Hunting Festival, and Harvest Festival in December and January, and the Amis' Harvest Festivals in July and August. The Taus of Orchid Island off the southeast coast hold their Flying Fish Festival between March and June. If you are in the Hualien-Taitung area at the right time, don't miss the opportunity to join in one of these fascinating expressions of indigenous culture. You can find out the timetable of the festivals by contacting the Hualien or Taitung county governments, or the various local government offices.
This part of Taiwan also contains the most complete prehistoric sites in Taiwan, with traces of middle and late neolithic peoples of the Beinan Culture who lived 50,000 to 20,000 years ago. There are also traces of megalithic cultures here. These sites have written an important page in the archaeology of Taiwan.
Another major prehistoric site is the Caves of the Eight Immortals on the coast to the north, where archaeologists made the earliest discoveries of traces of the paleolithic culture. The East Coast National Scenic Area maintains a prehistoric culture museum here, with displays and explanations of prehistoric human artifacts. Here you will also find detailed explanations of how these caves formed, which makes your trip more educational and interesting.
Beinan Culture Park: The ruins from the Beinan Culture cover an area of more than 300,000 square yards and were once the home of a large settlement of people who lived 2,000 to 3,000 years ago. This is the largest prehistoric settlement yet discovered in Taiwan. In the park you can observe the complete site of the ruins and personally experience the process of archaeological work.