Experiencing traditional Bunun culture in Hualien's Gufeng Community
The indigenous Bunun Gufeng Community is located in Zhuoxi Township, the southernmost indigenous township in Hualien County. This community is well known for its efforts to preserve Pasibutbut, a traditional polyphonic chant that surprised many music theory scholars when it was heard outside of Taiwan for the first time more than half a century ago. Pasibutbut refers to prayer for a bountiful millet harvest, sung during the millet planting ceremony to entertain the tribal deities and make them happy so that they will bless the new crop. This was one of the first communities in this township to promote Pasibutbut and its associated traditions in an effort to build up indigenous creative and cultural industries and sustainable tourism.
The residents of this community have taken the initiative to develop experiential activities that include singing of Pasibutbut, indigenous cuisine, hiking through bamboo forest, handicraft making and performance of traditional Bunun ceremonies and rites.
All around this Bunun community is bamboo forest. Every time, the wind blows, different sounds emerge from the forest, such as creaking and bamboo rubbing against bamboo. To the elders, this diversity of sounds resembles the different voices that come together during the singing of Pasibutbut. Thus, the residents of this community began to experiment with creating bamboo wind chimes to bring together a local, natural resource and an important part of the tribe's cultural heritage. Visitors can have the opportunity to learn how to make and decorate their own set of bamboo wind chimes to bring home as a souvenir of their visit.
Indigenous cuisine is very difficult to sample outside of Taiwan. Traditionally what was eaten was what was hunted, cultivated and gathered. Even today, indigenous community restaurants usually do not have a menu. They feature fresh, local ingredients, some traditional, prepared using modern methods, creating a unique fusion cuisine that can be appreciated by the contemporary palate.
Hualien County Zhuoxi Township Gufeng Community Development Association
58-1, Lin 17, Gufeng Village, Zhuoxi Township, Hualien County