“Centenarian Mazu Festival – Deities Unite to Protect Taichung” Mazu religious procession event kicked off to a bustling start on the 13th. After the consecration ceremony of the Mazu statue in the morning, the only Liuyi Dance ancient ritual in the country was performed to celebrate Mazu’s birthday centenary. Major Chia-lung Lin and Vice President of the Legislative Yuan Chi-chang Tsai were appointed chief celebrants, where the ancient ritual was conducted according to tradition amid a solemn, ceremonious atmosphere. Mayor Lin commented that the “7 Mazu Convention” a century ago marked the beginning of joint regional governance, and the city government has endeavored to promoting the joint governance of 7 municipalities in central Taiwan, hoping to unite central Taiwan in embracing the next century.
Offering cultural and religious meanings, the Centenarian Mazu Festival kicked off in the morning of the 13th, welcoming Mazu statues from 6 temples: Taichung Wanchun Temple and Lecheng Temple, Wuqi Chaoyuan Temple, CYHCG Fengtian Gong, Changhua Nanyao Temple and Beigang Chaotian Temple. The deities congregated at the temple in front of National Taiwan University of Sport’s gymnasium to re-create their former glory from over a century ago.
In the afternoon of the 13th, 280 dancers, ritual specialists, musicians and singers conducted the only Liuyi Dance birthday celebration ceremony in the country led by CYHCG Fengtian Gong. By following ancient rituals, the process includes first ritual, second ritual, third ritual followed by the ritual of kneeling three times and nine kowtows. Mayor Lin, Vice President of the Legislative Yuan Chi-chang Tsai, Changhua County Magistrate Ming-ku Wei, Chiayi County Magistrate Hwa-kuan Chang and Yunlin County Deputy Magistrate Yen-che Ting were appointed chief celebrants, while Deputy Mayor Kuang-yao Chang was appointed as the supervising official while Civil Affairs Bureau Director Shih-yin Tsai acted as the ceremonial supervisor.
City councilors Kung-chin Cheng, Min-cheng He, Chao-kuo Chiang, Chao-jung Tseng, Taichung Wanchun Temple Chairperson Chin-hsiung Wu, Lecheng Temple President Sung-i Kuo, Wuqi Chaoyuan Temple Chairperson Pi-ling You, CYHCG Fengtian Gong President Ta-huang He, Changhua Nanyao Temple Manager Chien-fu Chiu and Beigang Chaotian Temple President Yung-te Tsai were appointed as assistant sacrifice officers. The entire ceremony lasted about one hour amid a solemn ambiance.
According to Mayor Lin, Taichung City’s “Centenarian Mazu Festival – Deities Unite to Protect Taichung” event received enthusiastic support from 15 temples. A series of activities will be held over the course of 4 days. Besides the only Liuyi Dance ancient ritual in the country, 6 Mazu statues will embark on a religious procession on the 15th, taking them across downtown Taichung. There will be a round altar bidding deity farewell ceremony on the 16th, and the Cultural Affairs Bureau will organize the “Deities Unite to Protect Taichung Cultural Carnival” at the Taichung Park and the outer field of Taichung Municipal Guang Fu Elementary School from July 14 to 16. Everyone is invited to join the party in Taichung.
He also mentioned that “Taichung Stop”, the second generation building of Taichung Station, was completed in 1917, and after the North-South Line railroad was completed, the area around the train station prospered as a result. Xin Fu Ting Market, currently the No. 2 Public Market, was also inaugurated in the same year. At the time, in celebrating the founding of Taichung, Mazu temples across Taiwan gathered in Taichung and stayed for a period of 40 days. Coinciding with the centenary this year, the Centenarian Mazu Festival is held to not only foster the renewal of central Taiwan but congeal the strength of the Taiwanese people in promoting the Mazu culture. In embracing the era of elevated railway in Greater Taichung, the city government has made all the necessary preparations.
Mayor Lin indicated that the “7 Mazu Convention” in Taichung a century ago marked the beginning of joint regional governance, and the city government has endeavored to promoting the joint governance of 7 municipalities in central Taiwan, hoping to unite central Taiwan in embracing future developments together.
Vice President of the Legislative Yuan Chi-chang Tsai suggested that everyone is a Mazu believer (also known as Mazu fan), thus all the temples are the communicator of this ubiquitous Mazu spirit in the country. It is hoped that everyone will practice what they preach and become willing to help others, because in doing so, Taiwan will become a harmonious society.
Changhua County Magistrate Ming-ku Wei mentioned that the combination of Centenarian Mazu Festival and cultural activities demonstrate the power and vigor of religion, and he believes Mazu will protect everyone’s health and safety.
Chiayi County Magistrate Hwa-kuan Chang also commented that the completion of “Taichung Stop”, the second generation building of Taichung Station in 1917 signified that Taichung was transformed into a modern city, and Mayor Lin further upgraded Taichung into an international metropolis.
Civil Affairs Bureau pointed out that Yi dance is a meticulously choreographed ritualistic dance originated from the Duke of Zou, which was used during the most solemn ceremonies in ancient times. For this birthday celebration, female students from National Singang Senior High School of Arts became the Yi dancers to exemplify the maternal, feminist beauty and spirit of Mazu.