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6. The most impressive festival in Taiwan

My name is Mario Alberto Sanchez Hernandez and I am from Costa Rica and my most impressive festival in Taiwan has been the “Dragon Boat” , because in this festival in Tainan the KSU's international students were a part of event, not only we were spectators but actors of so wonderful event also.

The most impressive Festival in Taiwan, for me I think that would be two of them; the first one the Chinese New Year and the second one the Dragon Boat Festival.

Last February 18th, one of my Taiwanese roommates Patrick introduced me to one of the most famous legends: Nian, an extremely cruel and ferocious beast that the ancients believed would devour people on New Year's Eve. Patrick’s parents told me that in order to keep Nian away, red-paper couplets have to be pasted on doors and firecrackers are set off throughout the night, because Nian is said to fear the color red, the light of fire, and loud noises.

Then, in the next morning, as feelings of triumph and renewal fill the air at successfully keeping Nian away for another year, the most popular greeting heard is gong si or "congratulations." That sensation of freedom is so comfortable and makes the people feel quite happy, even I experienced that feeling.

Even though Lunar New Year celebrations generally last for only several days, starting on New Year's Eve, the festival itself is actually about three weeks long.

My most impressive festivals in Taiwan were the Lantern Festival and Dragon Boat Festival. These two events to me were both very extraordinary because they featured entertainment, historical facts and most of all hosted much fun and laughter. As a foreigner I had the opportunity to interact with the people, the cultural and the tradition embedded in the heritage of this lovely Formosa Island.

On the eve of these festivals I often took the time to ask my Taiwan classmates to tell me more about the significance of the events and each time I would asked them they were very shy to tell me, but of course I persistent and insistent, so they eventually told me what they knew. Now I will tell you about my personal experience of those events and what I learned about the festivals from my Taiwanese friends and classmates.

The thing I admire most about Taiwan and the Taiwanese people as a whole as there sense of creativity. Looking back at the two main festivals I attended in Taiwan gives me a great sense of appreciation of Taiwanese culture.

The first festival I attended in Taiwan was the Moon Festival in 2005. We were invited by one of our Taiwanese roommates to go with her to her home town of Dajia to spend the festival with her family. Upon arrival at the Dajia train station, we were met by her younger sister who took us to their house in her car. After dinner, we were taken round to a night market where we were made to taste different types of Taiwanese food. The following morning was the actual day of the moon festival when we were taken to the top of a mountain to celebrate by having a BBQ with our roommate and her family.

I was in my office at the ministry of economic and finances while I received a paper from the minister of foreign Affaires to talk about a scholarship from ICDF to Taiwan I met my director to talk about that, he asked me to go to the Republic of China Embassy in Haiti at this time I had an opportunity to meet Mr. Hung a nice guy who helped me to prepare all my documents and applied for the scholarship, one month later I received an email from the National Tsing Hua University to confirm that I was accept as an IMBA student. At this time it was to know how I can survive in Taiwan a country that I did not know much about but my meeting with Taiwanese ambassador in Haiti let me know that Taiwan is a peaceful country with so many friendly people .Finally I decided to come with some doubt.

The famous day August 23, 2006 when I first came to a country so far than mine without knowledge about the people but I was surprise to see how the Taiwanese people are friendly we lived as family in Taipei for about fifteen days and I came in Hsinchu on September 7,2006, it was a big challenge for me because I did not have any friend sometimes I felt sad but those things have been changed because of the hospitality of the Taiwanese people specially the staff of the National Tsing Hua University they usually gave their help to me for any kind of difficulties .

Clearly influenced by carnival in the Caribbean, carnival in Belize is an engaging experience in music, dance, and costumes. I discovered that here in Taiwan the resemblance is the same.