I’ll take a break from posting a recent series from my last trip to Okinawa to show off something I saw last weekend at the Hsinchu City God Temple. This is part of a ceremony allowing and welcoming spirits to roam sort of “finish business” from the earthly realms. During this month, spirits are appeased and/or kept away from homes through incense and offerings and spirit money, or ghost money, is burned as an offering. I have some more shots from last year here.
As school is about to start, this is a bit of a culture shock to many foreigners entering Taiwan for the first time. It’s hard to believe this is the start of my third year on the island!
These are shots of a hall of gods at Dajia Mazu Temple, Taichung County. This room has covered walls on two sides with these colorful statues, which overtake the senses, to say the least.
Part of the Mazu Pilgrimage, which I recently posted about, was an ongoing celebration at a Mazu temple in Taichung. This celebration was going on at the same time the pilgrimage made its way to Changhua just south of the city.
These gods represent Ne Zha San Tai Zi, or 莲花三太子. He is known as a trickster god, usually represented as a boy, and is seen as playful and mischievous. You’ll see him even on Taiwanese television, as he has sort of melded into a pop culture symbol.
These mobile altars were common through the day, as certain gods “visited” Mazu. The man on the left was dressed in traditional clothing and I’m regretting every time that I missed taking his portrait.
This man is pulling a San Tai Zi costume off the line, presumably to give the dancer a break. Later, I had a chance to get an image of the three costumes lined up as the dancers rested at the temple.
Offerings are given to the temple gods. Notice the pile of burning “ghost money” on the ground at their feet.
Just a “regular” post today with street scenes around City God Temple, Hsinchu. Have a good Wednesday, folks!
On Lotus Pond, near the temples and pagodas I posted about yesterday, is the Temple of the Emperor of the Dark Heaven, a shrine dedicated to a god who in the Taoist religion defeated a snake and turtle and symbolizes the dominance of good over evil.
He’s a fascinating site to behold, and just one of many, many temples and large statues along the lake.
These are from a short visit to City God Temple, a main cultural/religious point in Hsinchu City. There’s a market right in front of the temple which has some great food and it’s always full of activity.
As I mentioned before, I did a LOT in Taipei. It’s a great city with a lot to see – some districts are newer, and others older. While I stayed in the newer parts of the city for things like food and entertainment, the older parts beckon those who want to experience Chinese history, religion, and culture.
Longshan Temple could be called “interdenominational,” as my Lonely Planet guide suggests, but I think that’s glossing over the fact that Chinese religion is super-confusing to most Westerners as it is. Since most people practice a plethora of belief systems, we see most temples “serving out” all or most of these in an almost cafeteria format. Longshan is no different – much like Teo Chew or Pien Hou in Houston, we’ve got Chinese gods, boddhavistas, and Taoist prayer buildings sitting alongside each other.
As usual, click on each for the full Flickr photo.
There are, as usual, a few more on the Flickr stream. I’ll be updating this with shots from Chiang Kai Shek Memorial, Taipei 101, and other Taipei sights within the coming days.