A Preliminary Study on the Enshrinement in the Ancestral Tombs and Documentation in Genealogy of Hakka Women in Northern Taiwan: A Case on Wuwei Village, Guanyin Township, Taoyuan County
In the clan system based on the patriarchy, customs are thought to be “as it has always been as such”, and “never to be changed”. However, as time goes by, some traditions and customs that are handed down from the ancestors are going to be amended and transformed, it is difficult for people to accept such a change. Particularly when women who are considered to be degraded and excluded from the clan hierarchy “enter” these customs and rituals which have been always dominated by men, people refuse to change in excuse of “clans suffering from unknown misfortune”. The family Liao in Wuwei village, Guanyin Township, Taoyuan County researched in this study confronted such a “change” in their clan. The issue that “unmarried deceased daughters are allowed to be enshrined and worshipped in the ancestral tombs and documented in the clan genealogy” stimulated discussion for years. Most of the male and female clan members agree on this for “times has changed”, “men and women are equal”, “everyone belongs to this family”. The committee of the clan also agrees on this. This means that traditions and customs can be altered. However, gender relations in the clan hierarchy remain unchanged since it is not easy for women to be treated equally, such as those unmarried female deceased are arranged in another district in the ancestral tomb which are separated from the other male ancestors and their spouses. Moreover, women do not get access to the clan affairs. Therefore it is very important to be aware that gender should not be the point in issue in the clan hierarchy, but rather women do not have opportunities for equal participation. With this, it is necessary to reexamine such clan customs and cultures, so as to revert long-standing unbalanced gender relations.