Taiwanese Hand Puppet Show

Before the invasion of movies, TV, and Internet, the big entertainment in Taiwan are hand puppet show and Taiwanese Opera. The stages are set in the court yard of Daoist/Buddist temples. In addition to regular festivals, sometimes, some rich people would sponsor the shows as a token of gratitude to Gods. In those temples, as people beg the Gods to grant them their wishes, they would also promised the Gods in advance the "price". The most comment way are sponsoring the shows. There have been unconventional ways, such as playing a beggar for one day.

After the introduction of the idiot box, both shows migrate to the stage over the radio waves. Once the hand puppet show became so popular the KMT government banned the show, claiming it affected the "national" productivity.

The shows these days are truly for the Gods, as there are very few human audiences. The performer becomes lazy. Back in those good old days, in addition to live bands, there are also special effects in the back stage. I had seen folks banging gun power to simulate the sound of punches. These days, most of the hand puppet shows plays tapes instead.

The following clip was taken in the evening of the Moon Festival in 2009. There were only one audience other than I.

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