Identity and Change for Sacrifice Turns: Studies in Da Ai’s Ghost Festival
This article first tries to analyze the necessity and arrangement of the sacrifice turns in Da Ai’s annual Ghost Festival through its historical data and records in purpose of expounding the affiliations and changes between Da Ai’s sacrifice turns and its local Hakka people’s ethnic identity. Secondly, by interviewing main hosts who hold the sacrifice turns yearly during Ghost Festival, this article reports the background of the hosts, their responsible regions and experiences as well as the difficulties and future concerns of Da Ai’s sacrifice turns in modern days. In addition, studying “the rotation sheets” provided by these hosts and recorded the local Hakka people participation in sacrifice turns during past twenty years, this article depicts the declining participation in each host region and its historical context. Based on the collected data of twenty rotation sheets and further examining their numerical change, this research concludes the declination of Da Ai’s sacrifice turns and possible explanations of that change. The ultimate purpose of this article intends to point out the significant historical role of Da Ai’s sacrifice turns in consolidating the local Hakka regions to form prosperous Da Ai Reclamation in early age, which were once the power and economic center as well as the cohesive symbol of the local Hakka people. Facing the disappearance of Da Ai’s sacrifice turns in modern Da Ai area, this paper also suggests that the Da Ai hosts may consider some modern management system and reconstruct cultural meanings so as to revitalize the centurial ethnicity bond–sacrifice turns among Da Ai’s Hakka people.