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Tsou

In the Tsou (Cou) culture, Hamo is the supreme God, ruling heaven and earth. There are hitsus (deities) of other areas, such as the Millet God, Rice God, Land God, Military God, and the Smallpox God. When daily life and supernatural power co-exist in harmony, everything goes smoothly and crop yields are high. Therefore, the Tsou people communicate with supernatural powers through the wizard/witch to resolve conflicts between daily life and supernatural powers. In the 1960s when the Tsou people generally accepted Western religions and changed crops from millet to rice, traditional ceremonies began to be neglected. As traditional ceremonies and festivals have regained their importance in recent years, they have become important events to bring together the ethnic group. Annual Tsou ceremonies are related to millet growth and harvest. The Homeyaya (Millet Harvest Festival) is held after the harvest every year. In addition, Tfuya and Tapang communities hold the Mayasvi (Triumph Festival, also called the War Ritual) in the middle of the year to pay their respects to history and pray for success and unity in future wars.

1. Homeyaya (Millet Harvest Festival) Dancing Performance at the Millet Harvest Festival The Homeyaya (Millet Harvest Festival) is held every year after the harvest to show appreciations to the Millet God and to bring community solidarity together. Every year when the harvest is about to take place, elders of each clan will determine the harvest time; make preparations for the festival, such as brewing wine, making glutinous cakes, and setting up the ritual shrine; and prevent evil spirits from invasion with the pear-leaf microglossa (Microglossa pyrifolia). On the ritual day, elders and people of every clan worship the deity with wine, meat, and glutinous cakes to thank for good harvest and say prayers for their family.

2. Mayasvi (Triumph Festival, also called War Ritual, Unity Ritual) Triumph Festival rituals and activities The Triumph Festival is a community ritual of the Tsou. It is held by the Tfuya community during January to March and by the Tapang community during August to October. It is a ritual worshipping the Heavenly God, the Military (War) God, Life God, and the spirit of decapitated people to pay their respects to the wars in the past, pray for victory in future wars, and rid bad luck and illness. In the War Ritual, the representatives of each family gather in the assembly hall. After receiving and worshipping deities, they will tour the forbidden shrine of each family. The Tsou people believe that the Heavenly God and War God will descend from the bayan trees by the assembly hall during the ritual. Therefore, members participating in the ritual will circle around the tree and sing the song of the Gods.