ˇ· 1992 Memorable New Year CeremonyˇX to honor its composer, the late Puyuma elder Lu Shen Bao
Spreading over the flatlands of Taidong county, the Puyuma tribe has a population of 8,000 and consists of eight groups: Puyuma, Katipol, Kasabakan, Rikavong, Tamalakao, Murivurivuk, Alipai, and Pinaski. There is also Apapolo village, which has been built later by those who moved out.
In the old days, the Puyuma tribe was primarily a matrilineal society, with men marrying into women's families. Inheritances were passed down the maternal line, except for betel palm groves, arms and chiefdom. Although outnumbered by the Amis, Paiwan, Bunun and the Han Chinese, the Puyuma remained a powerful tribe, at a time ruling the Taidong Plain and expanding to neighboring areas. There were meeting halls for boys and young men, who received vigorous training from their childhood. Judging by their languages and legends of origin, the tribe can be divided into two groups: Puyuma and Katipol. In the past the Puyuma was a dominating village, collecting tributes from neighboring aboriginal tribes. Today the Puyuma village has preserved the grandest and most complete rituals of all Puyuma communities; it is also a center for the troupe's study of traditional Puyuma songs and dances.
The most unique activities across the whole village include Mugamut , the women's fete in March, after they finish weeding in the fields; Muraliyaban , the sea rite around July after the millet harvest to offer sacrifices to their ancestors who brought back millet seedlings from Orchid Island; and the New Year Rite, consisting of Basibas (the monkey rite) and Mangayao (the great hunting rite). During our field study, the troupe visited Puyuma village to gather first-hand knowledge of Mugamut and the New Year Rite, the most important of Puyuma rituals.
The New Year Rite in Puyuma village has never been canceled owing to outside influences. Every year after the harvest of dry rice and before the New Year, villagers observe Basibas , the monkey rite for boys, and Mangayao , the great hunting rite for the male adults, in order to rid of all evil and bad luck, and to welcome the new year. Head-hunting, which used to be the most important activity during the rite, was a prayer for good harvest and a means to display the hunters' bravery. The New Year Rite also stresses initiation rituals which mark a boy's entry into a young man, and a young man's entry into his adulthood, as well as rituals that end the mourning of families who lost their beloved ones in the past year.
The troupe's performance features ritual songs and dances of the New Year Rite, the grandest one in all Puyuma rites. Meanwhile, it is also the theme of Memorable New Year Rites , a production in commemoration of Puyuma composer Baliwakes.