Culture of aboriginal People
TAYAL, meaning, "people" and "brave man", is also the tribal name of the Tayal people. The tribe originally came from the Central Mountain Range. They specifically come from: Nantou Renai, Yilan Datong, Nanao, Taipei Wulai, Taoyuan Fusing, Miaoli Taian, NanJhuang, Taichung Heping, Hsinchu Wufong and Jianshih. Tayal people still conserve their rich traditions and culture. The aboriginal people mainly use slash-and-burn agriculture as their primary means of food production. Hunting is their secondary source of nourishment. Societal position is also very rigid, and gender roles are well defined. The young have the utmost respect for the elderly and their ancestors. Tayal people traditionally bury their dead under their homes. This tradition stopped during the Japanese occupation. Gender roles are also very clear. The men’s primary responsibilities are to build and protect the village as well as hunt. The woman’s primary responsibilities are to take care of the home and weave clothing. Taking care of the home includes creating anything needed (such as silverware, bowls, etc.) as well as making clothing for practical needs (such as headbands, jewelry, etc.) Everything is shared in this society. When the men return from a hunt, all of the food is shared throughout the village. Respect is given to the individual men who caught the animals, but all is shared through the entire community. The men who work the hardest and for example catch the most food are held in higher respects and may eventually become the tribal leaders. The value of the woman comes from taking care of the home and ensuring that their family has sufficient clothing, etc.
People are very curious about the meaning of the. facial tattoos. The essential meaning is a symbol of life and adulthood. Not anybody can get a tattoo whenever they please, and the tattoo for a man is different than for a woman. The men will receive a tattoo when they have proved themselves in the battlefield and the hunting range. They must show that they are brave and willing to sacrifice themselves for the tribe. Like the men being brave, the women need to be masters at weaving in order to get the tattoo. For a woman, the tattoo also represents virginity and loyalty to her future husband. Men and women can only be married if they have these tattoos. A man’s tattoo consists of two rectangles located on the chin and forehead. A woman’s tattoo covers almost her entire face; spanning from ear to ear along the cheeks, chin, and a separate rectangle on her forehead. A man who is extremely successful in battle by way of collecting heads of enemies as well as hunting game, or a woman who is extremely successful in weaving will be honored with special tattoos on their hands and feet.
Chastity is very important. A man or woman who has intercourse before they are married, or who indulge in someone other than their partner will bring a curse to themselves, their family, and the entire village. This curse comes from the spirits of their ancestors. If someone has this kind of behavior before they are tattooed, then when the time comes for their tattoo, it will not heal properly. The design and the color of the tattoo will not be clear or dark. The only way to avoid this is to confess to the tattoo master before the tattoo is given. They will then have to ask for forgiveness from their ancestors, and give a very large offering to the tattoo master. It is a very painful process, and much recovery time is needed after it is done. The receivers face will be swollen, bloody, and very uncomfortable. They will not be able to eat or go outside until their face has recovered. Also, one cannot get married until their tattoo is completely healed. If a woman’s tattoo becomes dark and clear, then it means they are master weavers and truly virtuous. A woman with a perfect tattoo is more sought after and will receive a higher dowry from the man. The tattoo is the most important symbol of maturity and respect for the Tayal people.