Saisiyat Folklore Museum

Saisiyat Folklore Museum information

Opening hours
9am-5pm Tue-Sun
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Lonely Planet review

This lake-side museum is dedicated to the Saisiyat (賽夏族) and their intriguing Festival of the Short People (賽夏族矮靈祭, Sàixiàzú Ǎlíngjì, the Pas-ta'ai Ritual). The Saisiyat ('the true people'), with just over 5000 members, are one of the smallest aboriginal groups in Taiwan and every three years they hold their festival in honour of the Ta'ai, a mythical pygmy race.

According to legend, the Ta'ai and Saisiyat once lived in peace, but after the Ta'ai began molesting Saisiyat women they were killed off. Famine resulted and the festival arose as a way of appeasing the vengeful spirits who were clearly at the root of the disaster. The festival is held beside the museum at Xiang Tian Hu (向天湖, Xiàngtiān Hú), a small lake nearly always shrouded in mist.

The festival is held on a full moon around the 15th day of the 10th lunar month every two years, with a particularly large event held every 10 years. The next regular festival will be held in 2014, with the big one to be held in 2016.

Buses to the lake and museum leave from the visitor centre.