【原美學工坊專欄】萬聖節應景文：掛在樹上的不是南瓜頭，是人頭……！Happy Thrilling Halloween, No Pumpkin Head on the Tree…… But Men's Heads!
原來以前距離這棵大樹前方的空地便是泰雅族人在出草後，將獵得的頭顱進行祭天的祭場。而離大樹小徑大約五十公尺左右，便是泰雅族馬力巴群 Malepa 部落。在舉行儀式時，所有部落裡的人，都會聚集在這片空地的廣場上，婦女們都會盛裝列隊，準備佳餚歡迎勇士的到來。
- 交通指南：從埔里走 14 號省道，過霧社後循14甲省道轉往力行產業道路，開25公里的車程後轉進產業道路，就可抵達紅香部落的溫泉。
Every indigenous community has its own exotic customs unknown to us. For example, on the way to Malepa in Nantou in Central Taiwan, there is a mysterious Tree of Men’s Heads; you shall not clamor or stay around the tree; otherwise, you would get infected with ulcer all around your body or get something incurable.
So, why do people call it the Tree of Men’s Heads?
So there is the story: In front of the tree used to be the place where the Tayal people worshiped to the men’s heads they hunted after the practice of head-hunting. And just 50 meters away was the Tayal community of Malepa. When the men finished a head-hunting, all the tribal women would get dressed well and queue up around the place in front of the tree, welcoming the return of the warriors.
The people would pour wine into the men’s heads, or the skulls, and have the tribal children drink the wine in the skulls. And the adults would wipe the blood of the skulls onto the children’s face in hope that they would become brave warriors. After the celebration, the people would hang the skulls on the tree, and sing and dance over night.
So who were the owners of the skulls?
In the tradition of Taiwanese indigenous peoples, those outsiders who dared to go across a mountain or a river which did not belong to their community or tribe would be regarded as intruders and would be hunted head. The two sides must fight until one could successfully kill the other, and return to their community with the hunted heads.
What to do in the Community?
The name of the community Malepa in Nantou in Central Taiwan is a Tayal word, meaning “living in a high place”. But actually Malepa can be further divided into two communities: Mek-Moyau and Ulay.
The Tayal people from Ulay have known to enjoy hot spring since very long, as there is a hot spring — Actually in Tayal, a hot spring is called ulay, which is the origin of the name Ulay and also a popular tourist attraction Wulai in New Taipei City, also a good resort for the hot spring.
Besides the hot spring, an abundance of hardy begonia is cultivated nearby for people to watch; every Autumn, the maples turn red, making Ulay a fantastic place to visit.
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