Lidao is one of the larger Bunun settlements located on the South Cross-Island Highway. However, do not assume from its name (meaning "ideal for rice") that it is a rich, fertile area, ideal for rice cultivation. This place name is transliterated from the Bunun word "lidou", referring to the wild, sticky tasting loquat fruit found in that area. Lidao Settlement is located at an elevation of around 1,000 meters, on a vast river terrace next to the upper reaches of the Wulu River. The terrain is completely level, making it suitable for habitation and cultivation. It is surrounded by mountains and beautiful scenery on all sides.
Lidao Settlement usually looks like a quiet, beautiful, tranquil paradise. However, every year, during the latter part of the fourth month of the lunar calendar, when the Bunun Tribe holds a Malahodagian, or "Ear Shooting Ritual", this mountain village becomes a very lively, bustling place. The Bunun are skilled hunters, and this ritual, which involves praying for hunting blessings, not only tests the hunting technique of the tribesmen, but also nurtures their warrior spirit. This is the most important ritual of the Bunun people.
During the traditional Ear Shooting Ritual, the people will cut off the ears of a hunted deer, and hang them on a wooden form or tree branch. All the young men of the village will then take turns at trying to shoot the ears by use of a bow and arrow. Young boys not yet of age must have a father or older brother accompany them as they practice shooting the ear. The long ceremony includes some rites that involve passing down Bunun hunting ethics, the purpose of which is to train the young men so that they can be outstanding hunters.
After the Ear Shooting Ritual is complete, the incomparably lively Malastapang Ceremony immediately follows. The hunters kneel in a circle, and drink rice wine while taking turns boasting of their own war successes (namely, their hunting accomplishments). The rhythmic sound of shouting and the many accompanying movements add a heroic atmosphere to the Ear Shooting Ritual. In this extraordinarily lively setting, everyone sings and drinks uninhibitedly.
Address：Haiduan Township, Taitung County, Taiwan (R.O.C.)