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Rituals of Taiwan - Essay Example

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Rituals of Taiwan

Thus, it is an attempt at unraveling intricacies of rituals in the sphere of: (1) how does the ritual reflect the values of a community; (2) what are the underlying consequences of the ritual; (3) what is the stated purpose of the ritual; and (4) what behavior does this ritual make it seem natural or normal, in the socio-cultural Taiwanese perspective.
Anthropologists and sociologists are interested in ritual studies, because discussions about rituals have key cultural importance and social concern. They take ritual events as "a mirror to reflect the larger problems of particular interests in an ethnographic case that become amenable to analysts" (Husken). Rituals are viewed to act as powerful mechanisms for constructions of the self and the other, of personal and collective identities, and are generally held to have benign effects. They bring core cultural values, ideology, knowledge and dramatic style to bear on real social relationships, problems and difficulties, often at key moments of transition or intensification. Social scientists view that ritual action is a conscious social mechanism of symbolic actions that reinforces the status quo by overwhelming the practitioner with a feeling of moral obligation to adhere to societal sentiments, which stress the importance of maintaining social structure.In short, rituals are often at the centre of the play of social and cultural forces operating in a society.
The cultural attributes of marriage, death, as well as religious practices are considered fundamental to the cultural make-up and identity of a country. Taiwan is a country where past, present and future are all inextricably inter-woven. Its ancient culture stands in stark contrast to the modern and industrialized way of life found in cities like Taipei. Studies on the history of Taiwan reveal that it had an endless change due to continuous arrival of new culture that brought new traditions, ideas, and philosophies. The earliest original tribes of the island were from Asia. Immigrants from Fujian in China arrived in 15th century. Subsequent migration was from Northern China, people called Hakka, and along with Fujian they created a new Taiwanese society. The Portuguese sailors landed on Taiwan named it 'Formosa' meaning beautiful, and there was also colonization effort by Dutch, Chinese, and Japanese subsequently. Following the defeat of Japan in the Second World War, Taiwan was re-occupied by China. Under the leadership Chiang Kai-shek, the Kuomintang (KMT) party formed Taiwan's constitution and adopted new flag, aimed at creating modern Taiwan.
The majority inhabitants of Taiwan are descendants of Han Chinese, who migrated to Taiwan in the early 1600s, and the complex cultural configurations found in Taiwan at present can easily be seen as Chinese culture with Taiwanese characteristics. With the migration of Chinese to Taiwan the original inhabitants were forced to adopt new culture and amalgamate it with their own tradition. Taiwanese religion is much diverse and the three dominant religions are Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, and Hinduism are ...Show more


In the study of nascent sciences, like anthropology, sociology, psychology, and the history of religion, rituals have paramount importance, as rituals are regarded as the inseparable twin of myth. Religious beliefs are expressed through ritualized behavior and festivals, and most cultures and religions mark major life-course transitions such as birth, marriage and death with public ritual expressions…
Author : cbrown
Rituals of Taiwan essay example
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