The 2015 Taichung City Matsu International Festival is an annual religious spectacular which has just begun this March and will last until November 26.
With more than 2,000 Matsu temples throughout Taiwan, it is no wonder that Matsu is worshiped by two thirds of the island’s population. The Matsu Holy Pilgrimage is an activity that all believers take part in; it occurs every March of the Lunar calendar year. Taichung’s Dajia Matsu Holy Pilgrimage, in particular, attracts millions of local and overseas visitors to Taichung for Matsu worship.
This year’s “glory of the one-hundred-year-old temples” event will be on an even larger scale with 12 temples participating, all aged over a century. They are Sinshe Jou-Chuang-Mom, Dajia Jenn-Lann Temple, Nantun Wan-He Gong, Dachuang Hao-tien Gong, Dadu Wan-Hsing Gong, Taichung Leh Cherng Temple, Wan-Chun Gong, Nan-Hsin Gong, Fengyuan Tzu-Chi Gong, Wuci Matsu Temple, Shekou Wan-Hsin Gong, and Daliyi Fu-Hsin Gong. Temple performances range from an evening gala of Taiwanese opera to music and dance shows. Visitors will get a chance to admire the historic and folk culture of each temple, plus enjoy high-quality local performances.
The first event, a gala evening at Sinshe Jou-Chuang-Mom, was organized by the Taichung City Government Cultural Affairs Bureau and held at Sheshe Senior High School. Artists included Taiwanese singer Hsi-tien Huang who was famous for the song Village Brother, Laney (She-Ming Wu) who began her career after winning a TV competition, and Taichung local Ssu-Wen Chen who became famous by imitating Jeannie Hsieh, plus other renowned groups from Taichung such as the 9966 jazz band and Nan-Kai Dance Company.
A delegation from the Songshan Matsu Temple in Xiapu City of Fujian, China, will visit Taiwan in mid-April to participate in the festival and visit dozens of renowned Matsu temples. Secretary General of the Xiapu Songshan Matsu Temple Board of Directors Chen Chien pointed out that this is the second time they have formed a delegation to visit Taiwan and they will stay for seven days. Matsu is the Sea Goddess of Peace worshipped by people from both sides of the Strait. Matsu not only carries people’s longing for good lives but also connects the feelings and emotions of people across the Strait.
Source: Taichung City Government Official Website