* Origin

The HsinpuBaojhong Temple in Hsinchu, commonly referred to as HsinpuYimin Temple, has been the religious center of the Hakka people in northern Taiwan since it opened to the public in the 55th year of the Qianlong Emperor(in 1790). In the beginning, Baojhong Temple was just a building that housed the remainsof the Hakka ancestors. Now, over 200 years later, it has becomea temple with a courtyard, memorial archway, garden, and pond. The Yimin Festival held by Baojhong Temple in July of every lunar year is not only an important Hakka religious event in Hsinchu and TaoyuanCounties,but it also attracts hundreds of thousands of travelers who come to participate in it.

* History of theYimin Festival

Over 200 years ago, during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, the Lin Shuang-wun Incident occurred. It was a revolt that resulted due to the prefect of Taiwan banning the Tiandihui (天地會, Heaven and Earth Society). Lin Shuang-wun rose up in revolt. Later on, large and small wars ignited around Taiwan at intervals. To protect the homeland, in coordination with the Hokkien and aboriginals in Pingpu (平埔), the Hakka people sent Yimin troops to fight with the government against the rebel army, and over 200 people were injured and died in the war. When there were over 100 deaths from the Dai Zhao Chun Incident in the year of the TongZhi emperor, they were all buried in Hsinpu. To commemorate their contribution, the region raised funds to construct Yimin Temple for people to visit and worship the fallen heroes. YiminYe (義民爺), from then on, became a unique Hakka belief. In the temple, if you look closely, you will find that the words carved on memorial tablet are“Memorial Tablet for the righteous men of Baojhong.” The Yimin Tomb is still at the rear of the temple for believers to think back on. The inscription “Baojhong (褒忠)” on the horizontal board in the temple was written by the Qianlong Emperor, so Hsinpu Yimin Temple is also called Baojhong Temple. As time went on, the horizontal inscription board has turned black from incense smoke. This black is the same color as the Yimin flag believers worshipped at home, dating back to the black clothing the Yimin Troops tied on their arms for the purpose of identification during the war. Every year, the believers bring their Baojhong Yimin Incense Flags (Black flags) to Yimin Temple to pass through the incense smoke (過火) and guide the gods home, to enshrine and worship the gods, and to hold a special ceremony of worship at the festival.

* The History of Hsinpu

The former name of Hsinpu was Pa-li-kok, and it was originally Huangpu, a hunting place for the Plains Tribe (Pingpu). In early times, there were no large-scale settlements of the Han people because the policy of breaking ground in Taiwan in the Qing Dynasty was sometimes loose and sometimes strict, and the area originally was the living space of the Plains Tribe (Pingpu) and aboriginals. It was in 1784 (the 49th year of the Qianlong Emperor) that over ten families migrated to Hsinpu, initiated business activity, and gradually turned the area into a small market place, and a name called “Hsinpu Village”started to show up in literature as well.

* Baozhong Pavilion

Why is Baojhong Pavilion called a “pavilion” instead of a “temple”? A pavilion refers to a building with pillars and a roof, but no walls. In 1787, the Qianlong Emperor bestowed a "Baojhong" plaque upon the Hakka people for dispatching their soldiers to help suppress the “Lin Shuang-wen Incident. “The local gentry built a pavilion with the plaque before the Yimin grave yard as a shelter for locals who came to honor their fallen heroes. Later, as the festival event gradually expanded, and people donated money and land to constantly repair and enlarge the small worship pavilion, forming the cluster of buildings present today.

* Two YiminGraveyards

There are two Yimin grave yards behind Baojhong Pavilion, one large and one small; the large one contains the remains of over two hundred ancestors who sacrificed themselves in the Lin Shuang-wen incident inscribed on the tomb before the graveyard are the words “Main Graveyard of the East Guangdong Baojhong Yimin.” The small one is called the “Attached Graveyard”, and it is where the remains of nearly 70 Yimin who took part in the Dai Chao Chun Incident are interred.

* Not for the Worship of Statues

Different from other temples, the main hall of the shrine in Xinpu’s Baozhong Pavilion is notdevoted to statues, but to the memorial tablets of Yimin ancestors that say, “East Guangdong Baozhong Yimin Tablets.”