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Linyuan Fongyun Temple's 2021 Mazu Patrolling the Sea Rite

Linyuan Fongyun Temple's 2021 Mazu Patrolling the Sea Rite

◎Written by Yang

◎English translation by Hou Ya-ting

◎Photos by Lai Jian-yu, Huang Shuo-wei, Liou Shao-ciang

 

 

 Earlier this year, on April 30, Fongyun Temple began its “Mazu Patrolling the Sea” ritual, a key religious tradition for local fishermen.

 Celebrated every four years to seek Mazu's blessings and ensure favorable weather, the event is recognized as Taiwan's largest maritime pilgrimage. Departing from Jhongyun Fishing Port, a fleet of 28 vessels (25 fishing boats and 3 vessels to film and photograph the rite) formed a floating procession that made its way to the mouth of Love River. That evening, the palanquins which held the temple's Mazu icons were displayed outside Kaohsiung Music Center.

 Crowds of worshipers visited the music center so they could pray to Mazu. The sight of the boats — all decorated with neon and LED lights, banners and pom-poms — dazzled the waterfront, and an air of excitement filled the port area.

Photo by Liou Shao-ciang

Photo by Huang Shuo-weiA Revered Goddess

 Mazu, the goddess of the sea, is widely revered as the protector of fishermen and seafarers. In Taiwan, where there are hundreds of Mazu temples, she is perhaps the most popular deity. She is also worshiped in Southeast Asia. The coast of Kaohsiung, which stretches 63km and has 16 harbors, is dotted with shrines devoted to her.

 The religious culture around Linyun District's Jhongyun Fishing Port and Fongyun Temple is especially captivating. The neighborhood's “Mazu Patrolling the Sea” rite has been listed as one of Kaohsiung City's Folk Customs and Related Relics since 2013.

 Families living near Jhongyun Fishing Port have engaged in fishing for generations, and it is said that Mazu-themed maritime patrols have been practiced for more than a century. In the past, they were small-scale events. Today, Fongyun Temple's “Mazu Patrolling the Sea” ceremony is the largest of its kind in Taiwan.

Mazu Patrols Kaohsiung Music Center for the First Time

 The grand maritime procession left Jhongyuan Fishing Port at 4 pm, and carried 35 palanquins toward the Port of Kaohsiung. When the boats arrived at Kaohsiung Music Center, Kaohsiung Mayor Mr. Chen Chi-mei led the palanquin carrying Mazu.

Photo by Lai Jian-yu

 Mayor Chen expressed his sincere gratitude to the rite's organizers, saying the event was an opportunity for Kaohsiung residents to experience precious religious culture. He then asked Mazu to bestow her blessings upon the city.

 That night, prestigious Kaohsiung-based performing arts troupes — including Cieding Elementary School's Song Jiang Battle Ritual, Gushan De Yue Dian Ji Sheng Tang's Bajiajiang (Eight Generals) Troupe, Zhen Zong Culture & Art Performance Troupe's Female Guan Jiang Shou Troupe, Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company's Guarding Deities, Chun Mei Taiwanese Opera Troupe, and Jing Ing Ger Puppet Troupe — dedicated performances to Mazu.

 Early the following day, the maritime pilgrimage departed from Pier-2 Art Center. It sailed to Anping Fishing Harbor in Tainan, to deepen the friendship between Kaohsiung's Linyuan District and Tainan's Anping District, and allow even more people to appreciate this contemporary religious tradition.

 

閱讀中文版:

2021林園鳳芸宮媽祖海巡

https://takao.kcg.gov.tw/article/614