By Audrey Lee, TAP-NY Secretary
If you’re taking a walk through Chinatown this Saturday, October 10th, you will hear and see a lot of what you’d typically expect from a public celebration.
Lion dancers and flag bearers will march through the neighborhood, and firecrackers and drums will echo throughout Lower Manhattan. Even the colors red, white, and blue will have a ubiquitous presence amongst the decorations, clothing, and crowd.
In the melting pot of cultures that is New York City, and in the collection of Asian traditions that is Chinatown, October 10th is an important day for those with Taiwanese heritage and those interested in Taiwan to celebrate the anniversary of an important chapter in their history.
Double Ten Day is often considered to be the birthday of the Republic of China, similar to the 4th of July in the United States.
The day commemorates the Wuch’ang Uprising (武昌起義), a key event in 1911 that led to the Xinhai Revolution (辛亥革命). That revolution, led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙), ultimately brought about the fall of the Qing Dynasty, ending more than 2,000 years of dynastic rule in China. This ushered in the “Republican Era,” and made Dr. Sun the “Father of the Nation” – he is still a revered figure in Taiwan today. It is the legacy of this revolution upon which Taiwan’s current political system and democracy are based.
In Taiwan, Double Ten Day is a public holiday – although since this year’s celebration is on a Saturday, most Taiwanese did not go to work on Friday, October 9th. The day kicks off with a flag-raising ceremony in front of the Presidential Building, as well as a Celebration Ceremony where the armed forces are recognized. There is the highly anticipated Presidential Address, followed by parades and performances. Capping off the celebration is an hour long fireworks display.
New York City’s Taiwanese community is quite large, with a mix of immigrants, first- and second-generation Taiwanese-Americans. Regardless of whether they celebrate or understand the significance of the holiday, Double Ten Day will always be an important date in their history as well as an opportunity to celebrate.
Take a walk through Chinatown this weekend, look out for red, white, and blue flags, and take a moment to appreciate the celebration and achievements they commemorate. And once Double Ten Day is over, come out to one of our many TAP-NY events this month, like our Halloween bash, to keep the celebration going!