For first-time participants in the Harvest Festival, it is often recommended to wear a "情人袋" (amis language call 'alofo, literally translated as "lover's bag") to join in the festive celebration. But why is it called a lover's bag? In fact, there are various explanations in different circles, but the most common one is related to the Amis tribe's matrilineal society.
In Amis culture, marriages, especially for unmarried females, are determined by their mothers. When considering a potential marriage, the mother of the female will place a betel nut inside the lover's bag of the young man they favor, which serves as a subtle indication of the intention to enter into a union. In modern times, the meaning of wearing the lover's bag has been extended to symbolize mutual understanding between both parties. For example, when tribal members invite non-indigenous or Han Chinese friends to wear the lover's bag," it signifies a welcoming gesture and respect for the tribal culture. The wearer of the lover's bag should be willing to set aside their own cultural values and biases and become a learner and participant in the tribal culture, actively engaging in the Harvest Festival or other tribal activities.
In 2019, during the Hualien County Joint Harvest Festival, the theme "披上情人袋" was used to signify that "Amis lover's bag is a beautiful accessory that showcases the weaving skills of our mothers. By wearing it and filling it with love, we let everyone know that the Amis tribe is a loving and caring nation."
Wearing the lover's bag symbolizes respect for the Amis culture and represents the willingness to embrace and learn from the culture, fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie during the Harvest Festival celebration.