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VIDEO: Yilan gets pumped for traditional swinging contest

  • 23 September, 2020
  • Katherine Wei
VIDEO: Yilan gets pumped for traditional swinging contest
Yilan's Jiaoxi Township holds a Swinging Contest every year.

With the Mid-Autumn Festival coming up, people are getting excited about big annual family barbecues and, of course, moon-gazing. 

But in Yilan County, that’s not all you can look forward to. There, you can also see a local Mid-Autumn Festival tradition that dates back 130 years. It involves a playground favorite, but this isn’t kid’s stuff! 

Who doesn’t love swings? Pumping as hard as you can go while feeling the air rush through your hair… But you probably haven’t ever seen swings quite like these.

At Jiaoxi’s annual Swinging Contest, which falls on the night of Mid-Autumn Festival, participants climb onto a giant swing set and try to kick the bell tied to a 5.5 meter high branch as many times as they can within three minutes. 

This tradition is 130 years-old, and has grown out of a traditional form of recreation once popular among local farmers. The swings are carefully crafted from 60 year-old Chinese fir trees on Yilan’s Wufengqi Mountain, and are bound together only with twine.

Tseng Shang-tai is the winner of last year’s competition. Here is his secret to winning: he says the best time to start pumping is when the swing is at its lowest point. 

Swinging enthusiasts come from far and wide to watch and take part. Chiayi County’s own swinging champion, Lin Yu-chiang won for swinging the highest in his local contest, though he says he knows the rules are different here.

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