Hengchun Pole Climbing Festival

A tradition that dates back several hundred years, the Hengchun Pole Climbing Festival takes place every year during ghost month, July of the lunar calendar. Today I・m here with Peter to practice climbing up a 12 meter pole that・s been heavily greased with lard. Actually, Peter・s going to try. I・m going to...take care of some things.
Let me try.
OK. Let me show you how it・s done.
Team members assemble themselves into a human ladder, and then the last person climbs as high as he or she can go. Then they take the few pieces of tarp provided to use as rope to keep climbing. During the competition there is lard on the poles and the goal is to reach the top before the other 31 competitors do. So today Peter has it easy - no lard, no competitors.
Just like that.
Let me try going down...
What goes up, must come down.
That was tiring.
I hurt all over.
Let・s try again next year.
In 1875, people inside the city decided to start giving away food that・s been offered to spirits during the ghost month to poorer people outside the city. But because sometimes the food would be destroyed and wasted during the often violent process, people decided to make an organized sport out of it.
To make things more difficult, lard was added to the game, and climbers are made to wait an hour on the pole before they get their tarp so it takes more than two hours for anyone to get to finish.
But if pole climbing isn・t your cup of tea, the folk music center might be a nice alternative.
My biggest discovery about Hengchun this time is that there・s actually much more to this town than just surfing in Kenting.
There・s lots of culture to be explored. I mean look at this marvelous fort wall from the 1870・s.
Yeah the wall is great, but I also liked the fact that we went to see the place where they make the traditional instruments. I felt very privileged to have a go, even though I was very bad at it.
I thought you were pretty good. You・ve got talent there.
There was definitely no talent there.
 
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