When I first arrived in Taiwan I made a checklist of odd things to cover. I shot numerous mass weddings, fights in the parliament and the enchanting sky lantern festival.
Wanting to complete my list, I did my research, marked down on my calendar and made it a point this year to cover the Hakka Yimin festival in Hsinchu where worshippers breed pigs to a fattened state for sacrifice.
The Yimin Festival commemorates ancestors who fought for the Chinese imperial army during the 18th century to help put down a local rebellion. After their deaths, locals built temples in their memory and offered pigs as a sacrifice during the annual ghost month, the seventh month of the lunar calendar.
Breeding giant pigs has become a professional industry in the small town following this tradition. Families buy their super-sized pig from a special breeder, with the price for a pig weighing over 600 kilograms (1323 pounds) starting at 600,000 Taiwan Dollars (US$18,738).