Before I start today’s post, I wanted to remind you that I’ve made a slideshow of photos showing off what I’ve seen in my first three months in Taiwan. I’ve now posted this to Youtube as well. Click here for the Youtube version.
Yesterday, I ventured outside the apartment door to get some photos of something going on in a nearby park that was making an awful lot of noise at 9am on a Saturday. What I found was a Catholic church event which was pretty heavily attended. This was interesting to me and makes sense in this area as Christianity in general is pretty popular – though not nearly as popular as the Taoist/Buddhist beliefs.
What was particularly fascinating to me was the context this was all wrapped up in as I saw people selling things and taking part in very Chinese cultural activities in lieu of your “Western” church cookout. Nuns were everywhere as were a few other foriengers – but not from Europe/America. Instead, these foreigners were Africans who were obviously involved with the church. Even though a religion which was introduced to Taiwan through Western missionaries was the area of focus here, I was the only Caucasian around. Hmmm.
I’d have to say that the other thing that was interesting was the amount of things being sold. While I know this can be said in a negative/stereotypical way, the Chinese love to sell things. You see this in their culture – even in religious beliefs. I’d never expect to see a church event in the US met with people hawking cheap toys or plants – and definitely not selling stinky tofu. I wonder if this plays into Chinese Christianity – and how it might have a role in shaping how they see the religion.
One of the more impressive groups was a drum group made up of kids in grade school through junior high. I’m wondering if this is connected to last week’s drum festival… regardless, these kids were very, very impressive. Notice the Catholic symbols on the banner behind them.