Taiwan: Crazy for Matsu

Matsu, the goddess of the sea, is a revered goddess in Taiwan. She became 1,047 years old on the the 23rd day of the third moon (on the lunar calendar) this year. Considering Taiwan is an island and its people have been fishing these seas for hundreds of years, it is no wonder they would pay so much heed to this goddess.

There are always great ceremomonies and offerings to her. Here is a video with some nice pictures of Taiwanese performing ceremonies for Matsu.

Here is a writeup from Lin Jen Yi

…this week (Matsu’s birthday week), there is one thing people in central Taiwan are crazy for. That is Da-jia Matsu’s inspection.

In addition to walking with Matsu and serving free tea and water because they made the wish, the most important tradition is going through Matsu’s palankeen. People believe that after going through Matsu’s palankeen, they will have a better luck in the future year.

Many people keep many sad things in their mind. They cannot find anyone to talk to and discuss. They wait for Matsu’s inspection tour every year, and hold incense and pray and tell Matsu the bitterness in their life. Because of this, they wait for Matsu’s inspection tour every year. To the elders, Matsu is better than psychiatrists.

These people believe that Matsu will protect the region of inspection tour. Some people try to ‘rob’ Matsu, especially in Chuanghua. Before Matsu went into Nan-Yao Temple, police officers took over Matsu. Local people tried to use fireworks and firecrackers to stop Matsu, and some young and strong men tried to grab the umbrella that belong to Matsu. This year they did not succeed because there are too many police officers. The number of police officers let me feel there was a serious criminal case.

Matsu was originally Goddess of the Sea. Our ancestors brought her over with them when they crossed the sea to Taiwan, to protect themselves, and when they moved inwards, cultivating the land of Taiwan, they frequently appealed to her for blessings and protection, and thus Matsu became “Taiwanized,” and having started out as Goddess of the Sea became Goddess of Rain. The Taiwanese saying, “Lord Tatao controls the wind, and the lady Matsu brings the rain” further encouraged the belief that the ritual of “welcoming Matsu” often brought rain.
Religion is the place the light is. We are like children, attracted by the light in the darkness. I like the positive power of orthodox religion. When I saw these believers walking silently, the power of belief is very positive.

I have a different view toward ‘religion.’ Religion is not for doubting, but for believing.
I feel that Matsu’s inspection tour provides good hiking and profound tourism experience with free food and accommodation. You cannot find a better one even with a lantern !
Da-jia Matsu mercy and blesses you carefree .

If you want to see an important part of Taiwanese culture and see some nice pictures and here a very Chinese song, give this video a go…

About the Author

I am a cultural geographer by nature, and now a photographer, videographer, musician, and webmaster.

One Response to “ Taiwan: Crazy for Matsu ”

  1. Great vid. I’ve got a report on my blog about the Mazu pilgrimage that you might be interested in.

    http://www.blog.craigfergusonimages.com/2007/04/30/dajia-mazu-festival-2007/

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