Category Archives: living

承启楼 (cheng qi lou)

f1The Hakka’s most famous earthern buildings will be the 承启楼 (cheng qi lou). situated in northern  Fujian. In the book  “中国古代建筑史”(China’s history of  ancient buildings), it has been used to symbolize the Hakka earthen  buildings. The building follows the inner connected corridor model. The building outer diameter is at 62.6 metres, it is consist of 4 concentric circular houses. At the central part of the building is made up of an ancestral hall ,a cloister and a semi circular courtyard ( 天井). Together they formed a single storey round house. Outside this house is 3 encompassing rings of houses.  The first ring is divided into 20 compartments/rooms , the center with  34 and the outer with 72. This outer ring building is 4 storeys tall, has 4 stairways,1 huge door and 2 side doors. The thickness of the wall at the lower level is at 1.9 metres. The roofs of these ringed houses are massive so that they could protect the building’s mud walls from rain. The bottom level of the outer ring houses are used for the kitchen, 2nd level as storeroom, granary and the 3 rd and 4th level as the living quarters. The whole builiding has 370 such living quarters. The dwellers boasted, said if one were to stay for a day in each rooms, one would take more than a year and the corridor encompassing the quarters is nearly 1 km long, there one could see how gigantic this building is.

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承启楼 (cheng qi lou) currently has resides 300 people  of 57 families.  It is said that it was built by the 15th generation Hakka living there, now the generation is around 30. It is built at 1709 and used 3 years to complete. Legends say that this building depended hugely on the good weather to complete, it was also called the “天助楼” (heaven aided building). During the peak of its occupancy, it has 600 dwellers of 80 families. It is say if a new bride enters the building, she would need 2 years to know all the people inside , provided if she knew one person a day.

Translated from 客家土楼民居

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福建客家土楼探秘 / Hakka Earth Dwellings

a short documentary on the tulou

Hakka Food Documentary

Life inside Hakka Fortified Earthern Castles

Documentary on the Life style in the Tulou

Hakka one month infant wine (乡土 – 土楼满月酒 )

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

This documentary provides insight with the traditions and customs surrounding the Hakka celebration of one month of infant age as well as the related purposes and information pertaining the Hakka yellow wine .

Lei cha 擂茶

Lei cha (; léi chá; literally “pounded tea”) is a Hakka tea-based beverage or gruel consisting of a mix of tea leaves that are ground or pounded together with various roasted nuts, seeds, and grains. The tea is drunk for breakfast or on cold winters as a tasty and healthy restorative. Lei cha is very popular in Taiwan, Southern China, Malaysia as well as any locations with a large population of Hakka people

Lei cha is traditionally a savory drink, however now it is usually consumed sweet.


Production

Although commercially prepared and prepackaged Lei cha can be bought, the drink is usually made “from scratch” just as it is about to be consumed.

The any type of tea leaves can be used however, the most popular and common are either Green tea or Oolong. For ease of use, sometimes matcha is used. Roasted peanuts, mung beans, and sesame are most commonly used seeds and nuts in Lei cha, however other types may be used. Such as:

  • Cooked or puffed rice
  • Roasted soybeans
  • Lentils
  • Lotus seeds
  • Pinenuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Wheat

The ingredients are ground in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle until it is reduced to a powder resembling fine cornmeal. The powder is then place into a serving bowl and hot water is stirred into it such that a thin soup-like beverage is produced.

taken from Wikipedia : Lei Cha

Step 1 Grinding up the nut and tea mix.

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step 2 : Nuts and tea are added to the dish and then ground up with a stick.

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step 3 : After the mix is ground to become oily a powder is added and mixed in.

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step 4:  Mixing the tea with hot water

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step5 : Lei Cha after the water and puffed rice has been added. Ready to drink.

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Equipment used to prepare Hakka lei cha

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Pictures and caption  taken from David’s Formosa Photo Gallery : lei cha

youtube vid

Special Characteristics of Hakka Costume

Chinese dress had its own distinctness by the time of the Han Dynasty. Despite the fact that they experienced a series of

mass war-induced migrations, Hakka clothing has changed very little over the years. It is still “classical” and “unadorned” in design. The industrious, conservative, and frugal Hakka character is clearly revealed in their costume, because clothing reflects character.

Chinese garb had already developed a distinct form by the Han Dynasty. Chinese dress

has undergone a great deal of change as a result of a series of breakups and reunions of their nation as well as invasions by foreign tribes, but basic Chinese dress still consists of the shan (an unlined upper garment) and the pao for the upper body and pants or a long pao for the lower half of the body. Hakka clothing is the same. Despite the fact that the Hakka were displaced by war several times, their clothing was still very traditional. Because of their conservative and frugal character, major feature of their dress is simplicity.

Confucius once said, ““. Fastening upper garments on the left side was taboo in Chinese dress, so most upper garments were fastened on the right. The fasteners were not located in the middle; rather they were located to the right of and away from the collar and downward. This design is respectfully referred to by the Hakkas as “dajin” (big or great collar).

You can see the ethnic culture of a people through the clothes and adornments they wear. When we look at Hakka dress, we see that they are frugal, unaffected, hard working, and tenacious. Clothing is no longer simply used for warmth, rather it is more an expression of culture and character. Culture can be said to be a word that represents the totality of the blocks of daily life and clothing represents life.

Hakka Blue Shan

Distinct from the shan and skirt of Minnan women, the upper garment and pants worn by Hakka women is known as “blue shan” or “long shan”. Hakka women are not divided into upper and lower classes and have to help their families earn a livelihood, often even working in the fields. Consequently, Hakka women all wore pants for their convenience and practicality.

By wearing the traditional dajin shan (upper garment with a big collar), the Hakka show their respect for tradition on the one hand, while concealing the shape of the breasts and preventing their accidental exposure while working, which was very important for the conservative Hakka women. From this, we can see the reserved and conservative character and fierce pride of the Hakka.

Labor has had a profound influence on the clothing of Hakka women. For instance, the bamboo hat, called a “cool hat”, worn by young female tea harvesters. Wrapped in blue cloth, it keeps strong sunlight off the face, while allowing air in. Women wear the same kind of pants with wide pant legs as men when to work in the field. It is obvious by the work clothes that the Hakka women wear that they are important producers. They are frugal, plain, and practical. They do housework and work in the fields like men. As a result, they are persevering and unassuming.

For cloth, they choose fabric that is easy to clean and does not wear out easily. Most Hakka women wear the dajinshan (big collar shan) with the very long sleeves folded back and pinned down with safety pins. This forms pockets where they can carry things. This is typical of the practical no-nonsense manner of the Hakka women.

taken from http://edu.ocac.gov.tw/lang/hakka/english/c/c.htm