The Origins of Azalea Festival

Every March, fresh azaleas bloom gracefully on the campus of National Taiwan University (NTU), creating a lovely and unforgettable scene. NTU is thus hailed as the “City of Azaleas” for such a spectacle. Thanks to Professor Tu Keng-Shen from the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, NTU campus boasts a great diversity of azaleas. During the year between 1948 and 1949, Professor Tu gathered wild Rhododendron simsii from the mountain areas of Liuzhangli, Taipei, and then introduced the species to NTU. In 1950, together with Chu Chung-Hui, Chief of the General Service Division under the Office of General Affairs, Professor Tu collected 250 azalea flower seedlings from farmers of Liuzhangli and planted them all over the campus. From 1958 to 1959, due to the road-widening construction of Yang-de Boulevard, NTU received several dragon junipers to be relocated, along with abundant azalea and camellia shrubs, from Shanzihou Workstation of Shilin Horticultural Experimental Station at Yangming Mountain. Thereafter, azaleas have forged a close affinity with NTU.

“The Beauty of NTU” Photography Contest (Photo by Hsu Jian-Lin, 2010)
“The Beauty of NTU” Photography Contest (Photo by Wu Qiu-Ju, 2010)

The vibrant azaleas have become the most splendid memory for NTU students. In 1997, NTU decided to organize a series of activities, including Department Expo and Student Club Expo, to offer aspiring high school students a glimpse of the top university in Taiwan. Furthermore, the multifaceted “NTU Azalea Festival” was established and expanded to include diverse activities such as expositions, art exhibitions, ecological tours, etc. Azaleas have become a symbol that embodies youth, joy, intellectuality and affection. Every year countless students and the general public alike are attracted to NTU Azalea Festival to enjoy the exuberant ambiance of the university. Azaleas no longer belong exclusively to NTU, as NTU has continued to practice late president Fu Ssu-Nien’s ideal of “contributing the university to the universe” in an open-minded, liberal, contributive, and all-encompassing spirit.

“The Beauty of NTU” Photography Contest (Photo by Ren Tai-Sheng)
“The Beauty of NTU” Photography Contest (Photo by Ren Tai-Sheng)