Both the Taichung Train Station and Second Market opened in 1917, marking a milestone for the modernization of Taichung. That year, 7 Matzu temples from central Taiwan came to Taichung to celebrate. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the opening. The city government has invited 15 temples to hold the Matzu Centennial-Gods Protect Taichung series of events from July 13 to 16, including a procession, street performances, and a Matzu theater night in the hopes of bringing history to life through local customs and cultural events. City Mayor Lin Jialong invites locals to join in this centennial celebration and experience the rich and diverse culture of Matzu. If you miss it, there’s always the next centennial.
The city government held a promotional press conference on July 4, accompanied by a war drum performance and Golden Song Award winning song from The Chairman, Gods Protect Taiwan. 15 Matzu temples from central Taiwan came together for the first time to promote and announce the centennial celebration along with Mayor Lin, Bureau of Culture Chair Wang Zhicheng, Department of Civil Affairs Chair Cai Shiyin, City Council Members He Mincheng, You Biling, Qiu Suzhen, Liu Shizhou, a service representative for council member Jiang Zhaoguo, Central District Chair Huang Zhimin, Southern District Chair Zhong Zhengguang, Eastern District Chair Jiang Huiwen, and Northern District Chair Representative Hong Zhihong.
Mayor Lin stated that 1917 marked the completion of the second generation of the Taichung Train Station, as well as the completion of the Xin Fu Market, now known as the Second Market. In order to celebrate Taichung, Matzu temples from around the country came to Taichung to hold 40 days of ceremonies. 100 years later, Matzu culture flourishes, especially in central Taiwan, which is home to the most Matzu temples and events in Taiwan.
“See you in a hundred years!” he stated. Taichung is the epicenter of Matzu culture. The city government summoned 15 temples to hold the Matzu Centennial Ceremony, Gods Protect Taichung event in the hopes of showing Taichung visitors Matzu in all her glory through combining ceremonies, religious, and artistic events. This includes each the special culture and cultural products of each temple, as well as markets, a procession, and prayers. This celebration only happens once every 100 years, so if you miss it, you will just have to wait for the next one.
Mayor Lin invites everyone to attend this centennial celebration. He stated that Matzu is like everyone’s mother, she responds to our needs regardless of background, ethnicity, sex, or age. She is at the intersection of everyone’s faith. He hopes to promote Matzu culture and pray for good fortune for the people and nation, as well as promote communication between Matzu temples through this event. Everyone is invited to experience the rich, diverse Matzu culture.
The Matzu Centennial Ceremony-Gods Protect Taichung series of events will be held by multiple departments in the city government, and will take place starting on July 13, and for the next 4 days at the gymnasium of the National Taiwan University of Physical Education and Sport, Taichung Park, and the small outdoor track of Guangfu Elementary. The events will be spectacular and plentiful. The Department of Civil Affairs has planned the Matzu Procession Peace Ceremony, to which it has invited Wachun Temple, Lecheng Temple, Beigang’s Chatian Temple, Wuqi’s Chaoyuan Temple, Xingang’s Fengtian Temple, and Zhanghua’s Nanyao Temple. The 6 temples will be stationed at the Xing Temple of the gymnasium of the National Taiwan University of Physical Education and Sport from July 13 to 16. At 5:00 on July 13 is the Xing Temple six row dance. A procession throughout Taichung city will take place on 7/15, and round altar farewell ceremony on 7/16.
The Department of Cultural Affairs will hold the Gods Protect Taichung Cultural Carnival from July 14 to 16 in Taichung Park and the small outdoor track of Guangfu Elementary School. The carnival will include a Matzu Creativity Exposition, street performances, and Matzu’s Night of Theater. The Matzu Creativity Expo invited 13 Matzu temples to participate. In addition to the 6 temples stationed in Taichung, Dajia’s Zhenlan Temple, Dazhuang’s Haotian Temple, Daliyi’s Fuxing Temple, Dadu’s Wanxing Temple, Shekou’s Wanxing Temple, Nantun’s Wanhe Temple, and Xinshe’s Jiuzhuang Matzu Temple will all be displaying their unique cultural products, allowing visitors to experience the special culture and creativity of each temple.
Street performances will take place at the carnival from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., which will include performances from the temples and performance groups. The Chairman will perform for 40 minutes starting from 5:10 p.m. on the 16th, and will be bringing their Golden Song Award winning piece, Gods Protect Taiwan. All 3 nights will be Matzu Nights of Theater, including the famous Paper Windmill Theater group, Guoguang Musical group, and the Little Frog Theater group with marvelous performances including Shunfeng’er’s New Incense Burner, Matzu’s Tears and Fishy Fishy Swimming in the Ocean.
Additionally, the Department of Economic Development will hold a Centennial Market in Taichung Park from July 14 to 16, where Taichung specialties will be for sale. Starting from 6:00 p.m. on 7/14, 2000 Happiness Points will be given out for visitors to try.
The Department of Cultural Affairs stated that the popular Cloud Rider and BK10 Model steam engines will be on display in Taichung Park for this year’s Taichung Train Station centennial celebration, and, for 2 hours a day, they will be open visitors to ride. Visitors to the carnival can collect points to exchange for limited edition Matzu Centennial Amulets, and participate in a raffle. Prizes include 3 liquid crystal televisions (1 per day), 6 bicycles (2 per day), 1 electric scooter (only on 7/16). For more information, please visit the Taichung City Department of Cultural Affairs website at http://www.culture.taichung.gov.tw/.