Taiwan and Double Ten Day (雙十節)
By Elaine Dunn
Taiwan. The “other” China. The Republic of China.
Each Oct. 10, nearly all 23 million residents of this island nation that sits on the southeastern coast off the People’s Republic of China get the day off to celebrate its National Day (國慶日).
On Oct. 10, 1911, in the city of Wuchang, capital of Hubei Province, civilians and noncommissioned officers of the Wuchang garrison carried out a revolt against government corruption and the encroachment of Manchu rule over Han Chinese. This revolt became known as the Wuchang Uprising (武昌起義). The unrest in Wuchang spread to the neighbouring cities of Hanyang and Hankou, overthrowing the local Manchu governments. This successful revolt marked the beginning of the Xinhai Revolution (辛亥革命) in the entire county that led to the demise of the 200-year rule of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). The foundation of the first democratic government was laid and heralded in the new “republican” era in China, 1911-1949.
After the defeat of the Kuomintang (KMT) by the Communists in the Chinese Civil War, the government of the Republic of China (KMT) lost control of mainland China and relocated to Taiwan in 1949. The National Day military parade on Oct. 10, 1949, was the first public military parade held in Taiwan.
Official National Day celebrations in Taiwan begin with raising of the flag of the Republic of China in front of the Presidential Building, followed by singing of the national anthem. Until recent years, there also was a military parade from the Presidential Building to the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial. Other festivities include traditional Chinese and Taiwanese culture, such as lion dances, folk dances by Taiwanese aborigines and martial arts displays. Later in the day, there is a presidential address and celebrations conclude with fireworks throughout major cities.
The Double Ten Day is also celebrated with small parades in Hong Kong and by some overseas Chinese living in U.S. cities with large Chinatowns. After Hong Kong was handed back to China by the British in 1997, Double Ten celebrations there had been much toned-down.
National Day in the People’s Republic of China (mainland China) is celebrated on Oct. 1, with big political rallies, speeches, military parades and government banquets. Since 2000, with its economy thriving, the government has declared it a “Golden Week,” giving most workers seven days off to visit relatives and take time for traveling.