Young people are regionally divided on what constitutes Taiwan’s most unique cultural feature, with northerners naming night markets and southerners pointing to festivals, the King Car Cultural and Educational Foundation found in a survey released on Wednesday.
Eastern Taiwan also had its own response, naming indigenous culture in the survey of 12,379 people ranging in age from late elementary school to high school.
Asked where they would take a friend visiting from abroad, the most common response was a night market, followed by a historical site.
Photo: CNA
As global citizens, it is important to recognize one’s own cultural strengths, as well as cultivate cross-cultural communication skills, foundation executive director Joyce Tseng (曾清芸) said.
Chen Wei-ju (陳韋如), a student at Taipei Municipal Songshan High School of Agriculture and Industry, said that night markets are most representative of Taiwanese culture, as they combine dining habits and cultural customs.
They not only provide a place to grab some food late at night, but are also a major draw for international tourists, Chen said, adding that foreign friends who have visited told him that they missed night markets the most after leaving Taiwan.
Seventy-five percent of respondents said they see themselves as culturally competent, the survey showed.
This confidence decreased with age, with half of elementary-school students rating themselves as 80 or higher on a scale to 100, it showed.
However, only about 20 percent were aware that there are more than 900 historical sites in Taiwan, it showed.
The poll also found that more than half believed that Tainan has the most, but its 144 sites fall short of the 181 in Taipei, although it does have more nationally designated sites at 22 to 19.
The cultural event most respondents wanted to attend was the Pingsi Sky Lantern Festival (65.7 percent), followed by the Dajia Matsu Pilgrimage (39.2 percent) and the Tainan Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival (32.3 percent), it showed.
Respondents’ favorite holiday was Lunar New Year’s Eve at 71.5 percent, with New Year’s Day coming in second (56 percent) and Christmas third (37.7 percent), it showed.
The place most respondents wanted to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site was Yushan (玉山) at 41.3 percent, followed by Taroko Gorge (太魯閣) at 36.9 percent and Fort San Domingo (淡水紅毛城) in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水) at 24.2 percent, it showed.
Of the candidates for the New Seven Wonders of the World, 65 percent chose the Colosseum in Rome, while 51.4 percent chose the Great Wall of China and 32.1 percent chose Peru’s Machu Picchu, it showed.
The survey conducted from Dec. 15 to 30 last year had a 3 percentage point margin of error.
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