Here are some information about Rukai customs, beliefs and traditions.
Rukai tribe is strictly patrlinear and cultivate male primogeniture.
They occupy a relatively small area within Kaohsiung and Pingtung county borders.
One of the less populous tribes, count approximately 12 thousands.
Rukai tribe territories are surrounded by Puyuma and Paiwan tribes so there are many similarities between these three.
Their main ritual is Millet Harvest Festival taking place in July or August. Millet biscuits are baked to foretell the following year's harvest. All woman take part in a bamboo swing.
|View from Sandimen village, Pingtung county|
Their main domain is farming, taro, millet and yam but they also hunt and fish.
This tribe is known for its beautiful colorful garment ornaments made from beads and shells. They make great contrast with black fabric.
Rukai also developed social class system. Clan chef's sign is carving of a snake or human head next to the house entrance. Also having pottery was a privilege of noble class, Rukai cannot make it however.
The noble class are land owners. Their houses are slightly bigger.
The other are: The gentry, The commoners.
The other classification is as follows: chief, nobility, warriors, commoners. Warrior (mainly war or hunting heroes) class is allowed to wear bear skin, boar tusks and deer antlers.
The white Lily is a symbol of sacred honor. Both men and women can wear it, it indicates man's hunting skills and woman's purity.
|Rukai wedding ceremony, Sandimen village, Pingtung county|
Rukai worship hundred pattern snake. There's even a legend of Rock of Oponohu carvings which includes a disobeying of hundred pace snake worship custom. (It says that Rukai young man married a Bunun girl. She didn't follow Rukai customs of not eating the hundred pace snake and she was expelled from the village. She didn't stop eating hundred pace snakes though, and so when she reached Oponohu Rock circle patterns emerged in each place she touched. )
|hunderd pace snake ornamen|
Rukai are also great singers although they haven't developed as sophisticated harmony and singing pattern as Bunun.
|Anniversary of settling in Sandimen (from Haocha village, after flooding in 2004)|
Rukai homes are made of stones slabs.
|Many villagers offer aboriginal DIY lessons, definitely worth trying|
|Breakfast shop where you can try Rukai tribe quisine|
|Paintings of a local art teacher|
Haochan village is situated pretty high in the mountains. The atmosphere is truly unique and the scenery astonishing. One can see as far as Pingtung while looking through the window of his bedroom.
There's another village worth seeing downhill, it's called Shui Men (水門). If you happen to be there during the lunch or dinner time, you should certainly visit a shop located in Heping street, Nr 31.
It sells trditional Rukai wedding dresses, but also serves drinks snaks and traditional Rukai dishes.
The design is extremely creative combining Rukai ornaments with the atmosphere of colonial times in Vietnam (One could argue whether there was a proper colonialization in Taiwan. It was ruled for only a short periods of time: basically 60 years in 17th century- Netherlands' VOC /Dutch East India Company/ and Spanish and Japan from 1989 until 1945).
One can have a really nice walk full of breathcatching views between Shuimen village situated dowhills in the river bank, the Taiwanese Aboriginal Park, and back Haocha village situated uphills.
My itinerary: I was wondering in almost every corner of narrow steep streets, and I am sure that there are still many treasures hidden, waiting for other to discover them....
The entrence to the Guliu Workshop (restaurant/wedding clothes shop).
Address: 内埔鄉水門村成功路31號, Shuimen village, Chenggong street Nr 31
The shop on the map
Continuing the journey in narrow streets of Shuimen......
Taiwan Aboriginal Culture Park is definitely worth seeing.
It introduces all officially recognized Taiwanese tribes, their history, culture, beliefs, artifacts, and housing - which is the drawing card. Culture Park occupies pretty huge territory and tribal houses are set in the mountains. One can walk but there is also free transportation between spots provided. Buses to different direction depart approximately every 5 min. making sightseeing really convenient. There are many activities held: archery, sewing etc.
Singing and dancing performance in a Concert Hall is a must see. The troupe represents a theatre standard, providing an amazing experience of aboriginal culture. English translation is available everywhere.
Mobile phone: +886926820695
Pingtung county, Wutai Township, Haocha Village Gujarat Bain Street, Lane 13, No. 2,
I stayed in Haocha Hostel during my trip.
It's located almost on top of the mountain, and is a great base for excurions....
There are two rooms available: double room and a twin.
Rooms are located upstairs, with a small living room with TV set, water dispenser, refrigerator, also coffee or tea available.
|Family name of the owners|
|Traditional Rukai porcelain|
|Traditional Rukai artifact, hall|
|View from the window, double room, 1st floor|
Yuemei is a skilled crafstwoman who also studied design. She specializes at making Rukai traditional jewellery for sell: necklaces and bracelets.
The owners provide traditional Rukai catering, Rukai costumes for pictures etc.
There are many facilities available, guest can use the kitchen in case they chose not to try local quisine.
|Porch outside of house|
Public transport directions to Haocha Hostel from Pingtung city
Haocha Hostel on the map
|Introduction to Haocha village|
Other useful information about Rukai tribe in Sandimen- Taiwan, the Heart of Asia website