Introduction to Taiwan’s Paiwan People
Taiwan’s Paiwan people are an aboriginal tribe. The Paiwan language is the daily language of the Tribe. The younger members of the tribe speak both Paiwan and Mandarin Chinese. The Paiwan people of Taiwan make up approximately 17.7% of the total indigenous people living in Taiwan. The last census numbered them at 70,331. They are the third-largest of the Aboriginal Tribes of Taiwan.
Many of the Paiwan people worship the snake. You will notice that a snake often appears on Paiwan clothes. Totem poles are often seen with snakes carved into them. For the Paiwan people, eating snake is prohibited by Tribal law. The Paiwan people refer to themselves as the “descendents of the Paipushe snake.”Animism is the major religion of the Paiwan people who call Taiwan home.Taiwan’s Paiwan people hold a major sacrifices once every five years. At this time they ask the spirits of their departed ancestors to come back to the earth and bless them.
Thousands of the Paiwan people of Taiwan have accepted Christianity. Large numbers, and sometimes whole villages adopted Christianity in the 1940‘s-1950‘s. Currently the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan claims just under 15,000 Paiwan members. The New Testament has been successfully translated into the Paiwan language.
Paiwan people are becoming very important members in the cultural centers. The Paiwan tribe shares their music in the diverse cultural activities that are held for tourists who visit the centers. Tourism is fast becoming important to the economy of the tribe. The Paiwan people are amazing musicians who play a large group of instruments. Many of these instruments are very different from the ones that are seen in other cultural groups. They are quite large and have a beautiful tone to them. If you visit any of the cultural centers of the indigenous peoples of Taiwan, perhaps they will be doing a concert.
For added pictures of the Paiwan people in concert, see our website at :