Most traditional agricultural societies base their life around festivals. Folk activities such as worshipping rites and processions held in honor of local deities help people pass down the wisdom and experiences of their forefathers. The magnificence of folk culture and arts inspire people and bring them together. The Directorate General of Posts is now issuing two sets of four stamps each on the topic of Taiwan Folk Activities. The first set includes "Sky Lanterns Fireworks Display," "Matsu Procession" and "Dragon Boat Race."Brief introductions to the stamps’ designs follow:(1) Sky Lanterns-the fifteenth day of the first lunar monthLocated in a remote mountain area, the towns of Pinghsi and Shihfen were difficult to reach in years past. At times when the Han settlers in these parts were raided by robbers, they would release "sky lanterns" to let others know that they were safe and sound after the robbers had left. The practice now has evolved into a ritual of praying for good fortune. The lanterns are decorated with colorful pictures and the names and wishes of those who release them. It is said: "The higher the lantern flies, the higher your career will soar."(2) Fireworks Display-the fifteenth day of the first lunar month It is said that in 1875 Yanshui Township was stricken with a plague and the town citizens supplicated the spirits of Kuan Kong and various local deities to come to inspect the ravished land and expel the epidemic. During the procession, people lighted firecrackers to boost the spirits’ morale. The epidemic disappeared. Since then, the citizens have en-treated Kuan Kung to come on Lantern Festival. Along the route of the procession, the locals set off a massive amount of firecrackers. Crazy and exciting, the spectacular swan-ns of firecrackers pound the sky with a deafening roar. It is very unique and famous.(3) Matsu Procession-the third lunar monthThe 23rd day of the third lunar month is the birthday of Matsu, the goddess of the sea. However, the rituals of chin hsiang (carrying the incense) span from the Chinese New Year to early fourth lunar month. These ceremonies climax when devotees accompany the Tachia Matsu to her "mother" temple in Peikang. The scale of this procession, which includes a great number of performance troupes, is very large. The believers who escort Matsu pray for timely rain and for the nation’s peace and prosperity.(4) Dragon Boat Race-the fifth day of the fifth lunar month The tradition of dragon boat races on the day of Dragon Boat Festival has continued for thousands of years. Dragon boat races are widely held everywhere in Taiwan, attracting many people to come to watch. Aside from exalting culture and celebrating the festival, the races also hold meaning in cultivating physical fitness and team spirit.
(1) First Day Cover in small size to be sold at NT$2.00 apiece.(2) Folder especially prepared for the stamps to be sold at NT$5.00 apiece.(3) Folder with crystal mount for better protection of the stamps to be sold at NT$5.00 apiece.(4) Loose-leaf stamp album page with plastic cover to be sold at NT$8.00 apiece.(5) Pre-cancelled First Day Cover affixed with a low-valued stamp to be sold at NT$7.00 apiece.(6) Pre-cancelled First Day Cover affixed with a complete set of stamps to be sold at NT$42.00 apiece.(7) Taiwan Folk Activities Postage Stamps Pictorial Volume I to be sold at NT$185.00 apiece.