Taiwan’s largest-ever Minnan culture festival kicked off on Apr. 28 at Cheng Kung Hall, National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) where international academic forums on the Minnan culture were held to uplift and accelerate the research momentum on Minnan culture.
Scholars and experts from the United States, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, China, Malaysia and Taiwan gathered to provide a broad yet in-depth analysis of Minnan culture from the perspectives of literature, folk art, architecture, cinema and cuisine.
At the opening ceremony, President Ma Ying-Jeou used Minnan to greet everyone and welcomed people from around the world to attend the forums to exchange views on Minnan culture.
President Ma said according to the data from 2009 Ethnologue, the total population of Minnan is about 46 million, ranking in the top 30 of some 6,000 languages in the world.
Ma said, the long history of Minnan culture with its far-fetching significance originated from Heluo and has extended worldwide.
Minnan people travelled farther and longer than those in the Age of Discovery, Ma added, noting that people in Quanzhou, southern Fujian, China, in 1009 had started the overseas exploration, helping bridge the trade routes between the West and the East.
Ma pointed out the voyage of Minnan people was very different from western expansion in that Minnan people were aggressive but not plundering, open but not weak, for they didn’t take things away but rather left the heritage to the regions, helping their culture blend into local ones.
NCKU President Hwung-Hweng Hwung said, for decades, Minnan culture has been defined as going beyond geographical borders, expanding from Quanzhou, Zhangzhou, Xiamen, Kinmen, Taiwan to East Asia, and even to the United States, as traces of Minnan culture have developed into a special culture, forming a unique circle.
According to Hwung, NCKU Minnan Cultural Center has been set up in early April with the purpose of maintaining the essence of Minnan culture and extending the existing academic achievements.
Liu Chao-Shiuan, president of the General Association of Chinese Culture, said that the 2012 World Minnan Cultural Festival is a joint effort from around the world and this is the first grand united venue for Minnan culture, an event jointly organized by local government and domestic and international academic institutions.