Sponsored by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Taichung City Government, the 2013 Taichung City Mazu International Festival kicks off officially. Its first wave of activity, the Lantern Festival celebrations in century-old temples, was held on February 24.Popular artists, singers, and performing arts groups were invited, including Wang Cai-hua (王彩樺), Long Qian-yu (龍千玉) and Little Jin Zhi Taiwanese Opera Troupe (小金枝歌劇團). Of course, there were also the traditional “riddles guessing games” for which Cultural Affairs Bureau prepared many exquisite gifts to give out to the winners.
Five Lantern Festival celebrations were held on the night of February 24 at Zhenlan Temple in Dajia (大甲鎮瀾宮), Haotian Temple in Wuxi (梧棲浩天宮), Le Cheng Temple in Hansi (旱溪樂成宮), Wanhe Temple in Nantun (南屯萬和宮), and Wanxing Temple in Dadu(大肚萬興宮), respectively. The Lantern Festival celebration at Zhenlan Temple started with Wang Cai-hua singing “Blessing from the gods”, followed by Long Qian-yu, Yuan Xiao-di (袁小迪), Magic PowerHip-hop Rock Group(新生代嘻哈搖滾團體MP魔幻力量) and many other singers. In between singing sessions, the brainstorming riddle-guessinggames were held. All the activities were very vibrant and wonderful!
One of the classical events held in the Lantern Festival at the Zhenlan Temple in Dajia is tossingthe red divination blocks to request Matsu’s instruction on when to have the Pilgrimage held. It was announced at the celebration that the Pilgrimage shall start at 23:00 on Friday, April 5 (or February 25 on the lunar calendar). Deputy Mayor Shyu said that Bus #93 will provide free service on April 5 toall the pilgrims, who can get off at Dajia Train Station (大甲火車站) or Dajia Senior High School (大甲高中) and then walk to the Zhenlan Temple. Deputy Mayor Shyu also took part inthe riddles-guessing games to share fun with the people.
Meanwhil, Wu Shu-min (吳淑敏),Tsai Yi-de (蔡義德), and Gao Xiang-peng (高向鵬) performed quite a few popular songs at the Haotian Temple in Wuxi. Deputy Mayor Tsai said, "The new song ‘Hymns to Mazu’ (大庄媽聖歌) was sung by Wu Shu-min and Tsai Yi-de for the first time tonight. It expresses what Mazu is expected of by her believers. Moreover, we would like to thank Haotian Temple chairman Chen Qi-he (陳起賀) and Wuxi District Chief Chen Ting-xiu (陳廷秀) for their efforts to make tonight’s celebration possible and to invite so many people to participate. We have five major century-old temples to celebrate the Lantern Festival at the same time tonight in Taichung. It is hoped the Mazu Culture Festival is getting more and more lively every year!"
Wanxing Temple in Dadu had Zeng Xin-mei (曾心梅) and the Star Asia Gunslinger (星亞神槍) to perform singing and stunts. Audiences were so amazed that they exclaimed again and again! Le Cheng Temple in Hansi had the Le Cheng Temple Chinese Classical Orchestra (樂成宮國樂團) to perform first and Tsai Hsiao-hu (蔡小虎) followed to sing "Four Seasons" (春夏秋冬) to pray for the blessings of Matsu on Taiwan. The Wanhe Temple in Nantun featured Little Jin Zhi Taiwanese Opera Troupe to perform the well-known "Water Madame” (臨水夫人), the story of White Snake (白蛇) making a pretense of Chen Jing-gu (陳靖姑). The plot fascinated the audience very much. All the five evening shows attracted young and old people, making their Lantern Festival celebration very enjoyable.
For more information about the related activities, please visit the official website: http://www1.culture.taichung.gov.tw/mazu/2013/index.asp