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The Puyuma (Beinan)

The Protector of the South
In the past, the Puyuma were distributed in eight major settlements, namely, Zhiben, Jianhe, Lijia, Taian, Chulu, Alibai, Xiabinlang, and Nanyu. Due to migration, and an increase in the population, two more settlements have sprung up to make a total of ten settlements, namely "Babulu" (in Taitung City's Baosangli) and "Longguomai", which was originally a part of Chulu (due to an increase in population, it was incorporated into Mingfong Village). These settlements are all in close vicinity to other Aboriginal settlements, namely those of the Ami and Bunun to the north, the Rukai to the west, and the Paiwan to the south.
Of these Puyuma settlements, four are located in the East Rift Valley. These four settlements, ascending from south to north, are Xiabinlang, Alibai (also called Shangbinlang), Chulu and Longgoumai. All of the four settlements are located along Provincial Highway No. 9, and connect to Luye and Guanshan. The geographical location of these Puyuma settlements happens to be close to the southernmost entrance of the East Rift Valley. 
cultural features
 
Cultural Features
The influence of settlement-living on the east Taiwan Puyuma is closely related to their unique social system. Because Puyuma women have an important role in their family lives, as well as greater responsibility, the men are free to concentrate on the maintenance of settlement-safety, based at the assembly hall. (In past times, the men’s assembly hall functioned as a center for military studies, education, the discussion of official business, and administration, further strengthening its connection with each Puyuma man's life.) The course of a Puyuma man’s life strongly develops along standards based on age hierarchy, and anthropologists usually classify their society as a matrilineal or age-hierarchy society.

A young Puyuma man's life can be divided into the following four age-groups:
1. The first stage: The strict, rigorous training of a boy in his early youth (from the age of 12 or 13, until 17 or 18)
2. The second stage: Exposure to hunger and poverty – the test of the youth's will (from the age of 17 or 18 until 20 or 21)
3. The third stage: Marriage and career – during this stage, the young man can undertake responsibilities involved in protecting his family and clan (starting from age 20 or 21 and continuing until he becomes an elder)
4. The fourth stage: This is the elder stage, where a man is considered to have abundant life experiences and mature judgment skills, consequently enabling him to take responsibility for policy making (starting from when he becomes an elder).
These four stages are strictly distinct, and each involves different training and responsibilities. These different life stages are further reflected by very distinct residences, etiquette rules, and costumes. As for the girls, there are no separate growth stages, and they are free to marry when they mature into adulthood, after they reach about 15 or 16 years of age. At this time they can start to seek out adult men for marriage, and then begin a family of their own.
Religious Belief
The traditional religion of the Puyuma is still practiced, and shamans are still used to perform healings, cast out demons, and undertake ceremonies and rituals of life.
Festivals
Because traditional Puyuma society includes farming and hunting, their religious beliefs and calendrical ceremonies are closely tied to farming and hunting themes. Due to changes in farming methods, certain ceremonies are no longer performed. The main surviving calendrical ceremonies are as follows:
During March and April, a special women's ceremony, known as the "Millet Weeding Festival" (also known as the "Celebration of Weeding Completion") is held.

The Millet Harvesting Festival, which is a regular harvest festival, is no longer celebrated in every settlement.
In July, after the millet harvest has been gathered and stored, a "Millet Thanksgiving Festival" (also known as a "Sea Festival") is held. Currently, only the Nanyu Settlement celebrates this festival, and only the men participate.


The Puyuma tribe's "Monkey Festival" and "Great Hunting Festival" are well-known far and near. As the year comes to an end, every settlement celebrates this festival, thus, it is also known as the "Yearly Ceremony". The Puyuma "Monkey Festival" and "Great Hunting Festival" not only develop the fighting skills of the young men, but also include a coming-of-age-ceremony, and a ceremony to end the mourning of families who have lost loved ones during the past year. Because Puyuma tribe members closely connect harvesting with the other world, every part of the farming ceremony includes expressions of worship and gratitude to the gods and ancestors. Every aspect of the hunting ceremony includes praying for the gods and ancestral spirits to bestow kindness and provision. All items of etiquette must be observed, and nothing should be taken indiscriminately.
festovals

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