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Taiwan FUN on the Tropic of Cancer – Festivals and Activities during the Summer Months

September 1, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Most people have heard of the Tropic of Cancer (TOC). But how many can actually define what it is? Just in case you were wondering, the Tropic of Cancer is the northernmost circle of latitude on Earth where the sun appears directly overhead at its zenith.

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The sun ”draws” this line once per year during the northern hemisphere’s summer solstice, which occurs sometime between June 20 and June 22.

As of 2014, the TOC lies at approximately 23 degrees north latitude, which means it runs right through Taiwan, cutting, from east to west, across Hualien County, Nantou County, Chiayi County, and the islands of Penghu County. Throughout the summer numerous festivities and activities related to the Tropic of Cancer are staged as part of the annual Taiwan Fun on the Tropic of Cancer season, running from June 21 until September 30 this year.

To get an idea of what is going on during this year’s celebrations, Travel in Taiwan visited the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center in late June, where an exhibition was being staged showcasing the culinary and other attractions of Cancer. The city of Kaohsiung itself does not lie on the Tropic of Cancer (not yet, anyway – the TOC is drifting south about 14 meters per year).

After walking through the glass doors at the back of the canter and stepping out onto the harbor – view walkway, we saw that food and drink had 20been given center stage. Lychees the size of tennis calls, mango smoothies, deep – fried aiyu jelly…it was a showcase of Taiwan’s agricultural bounty. Aiyu jelly, a popular treat made from the seeds of a variety of fig, was selected in a popularity poll this year as Taiwan’s number one summer snack. But it was not the only specialty item on offer. We also visited stands selling papaya milk, shaved ice, and even cactus ice from the Penghu islands.

Food is only one element of the Taiwan Fun on the Tropic of Cancer festivities, however. In Chiayi County’s Siraya National Scenic Area, for example, named for a lowland indigenous tribe that is not yet officially recognized, activities are centered on the mud springs of the hot – spring resort town Guanziling. Beat the summer heat by taking a dip in the soothing mud – and nutrient – rich waters with cold beverage in head.

In the village of Ruisui in Hualien County, located in the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area, representatives of the island’s unique and colorful indigenous culture stage song – and – dance performances, with the aim of preserving and promoting the traditional way of life of Taiwan’s first inhabitants. Ruisui is also the launch – point for whitewater rafting trips down the Xiuguluan River, with exciting yet always safe adventure guaranteed.

Among the various other activities being staged by local governments this summer are night–time eco-explorations at Little Yeliu in Taitung County, fun activities on the beaches of Penghu, sand and salt sculpting on the southwest coast, evening visits to Shoushan Zoo and bicycling in Liugui District in Kaohsiung, day-lily season visits to Mt. Liushidan (Sixty Stone Mountain) and Mt. Chile in Hualien, and visits to indigenous villages in Taitung County.

If you plan to visit southern or eastern Taiwan or the offshore islands of Penghu this summer, make sure to check out which of the many festivities and activities you won’t want to miss!

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