With a lot of help from Father Yves Moal (劉一峰), cultural interactions on Tuesday began between Hualien County’s Yuli Township (玉里) and the Brittany region of France with the hope that they flower into a sister cities relationship.

A resident of Brittany prior to his arrival in Taiwan 60 years ago, Moal said that the event had taken two years to arrange.

Moal said that he was delighted to see friends from his “first homeland” in his “second homeland.”

Moal was naturalized and received his national identity card on April 30, 2017 in recognition of his contribution to Taiwanese society.

Breton dance group Bleuniadur Ensemble joined Kaohsiung-based troupe Hachigu (哈旗鼓文化藝術團), the Yuli Township Hakka Association, the Fei-Yang Folk Dance Group (飛揚民族舞團) and others in a parade from Yuli Railway Station to the township plaza that started at 5pm.

Like Bleuniadur, which was founded in 1978 in Saint-Pol-de-Leon and whose members perform in traditional Breton apparel, the other groups also wore their traditional clothing for the parade.

Moal and the Yuli church choir performed songs in French before the official performance began at 7pm.

Yuli Mayor Tsai Chiu-lung (蔡秋龍) said that he wanted to thank Moal for arranging the event.

Bleuniadur put on a world-class performance, Tsai said, adding that it taking place in Yuli, along with local groups, paid homage to the township’s history of bringing together different people and cultures.

Tsai said that he hoped the event would let the international community see Yuli and that it would become an annual celebration.

He invited all Taiwanese to visit Yuli and experience its simple, but cultured lifestyle.

Yuli was the first of three stops for Bleuniadur. It is to perform at Liudui Hakka Cultural Park (六堆客家文化園區) in Pingtung County’s Neipu Township (內埔) on Saturday and at Taipei’s Minsheng Community Activity Center on Thursday next week.