Words and photos provided by Information Bureau of Taichung City Government,
Translated by Anna Yang
It is now the 20th year that Taichung City has organized this large-scale Mazu celebration, which not only preserves cultural traditions but also Mazu’s compassionate practices in our society.
The Mazu festival and pilgrimage are among Taiwan’s most popular religious events taking place in central Taiwan, consistently drawing massive crowds of enthusiastic, passionate participants. The Dajia Mazu Pilgrimage began in 1999 and was transformed into the Taichung City Mazu International Festival in 2011. A large number of traditional folk art performances and evening entertainment shows will take place at 12 centuries-old temples in Taichung’s mountain and coastal towns and regions, as this well-known Taichung cultural festival continues to grow and span multiple generations.
A series of cultural events in centennial temples began on February 19 (fourth day of the lunar new year) at Xinshe District’s Jiuzhuangma Temple. On March 2, several performances included “The Goddess Who Protects The Leopard” were performed at Dajia District’s Jenn Lann Temple, Lecheng Temple, Wanhe Temple, and Haotian Temple. Local Taichung performing troupe “Guo Guang Ge Ju Tuan”, which earned fame for its “Blue Tears” performance at Wanhe Temple in 2016, is this year also performing “Mazu Procession”, which portrays the development of Taichung’s Nantun District and its Mazu-related history and culture.
As tradition dictates at Dajia’s Jenn Lann Temple, the pilgrimage date is determined on Lantern Festival each year. Taichung City Cultural Affairs Bureau will hold an opening event for the pilgrimage and has invited the popular Lan Yang Opera to perform “Peach Blossom Girl” on April 8 (Sun.) at 7 p.m.
On April 13 (Fri.) the pilgrimage sets out and there will be additional performances by a wide variety of invited groups at grandstands between Dajia’s JingGuo and ZhongShan roads, starting at 6 p.m. Including the local England Music Band, Myth Magic Show, Taichung Sheng-Wu-Chou Puppet Troupe, Ta Cha Jenn Lann Gong Band, and Jen Ai Band. These groups promise to delight visitors with their performances.
More events will take place at Fengyuan’s Tzujii Temple and Nantun District’s Nanxin Temple on May 5, at Sheko’s Wanxin Temple and Wanchun Temple on May 6, at Wuxi’s Chaoyuan Temple on May 20, and at Dadu’s Wanxin Temple on June 9. In addition, there will be Mazu painting and essay-writing activities, welcoming participants of all ages be a part of this culturally-rich celebration. A planned series of events, including drum performances, Mazu painting and essay-writing, and shuttle buses to Mazu events, will also kick off in May.
Taichung City’s Cultural Affairs Bureau hopes to promote Mazu culture via this series of activities relating to painting, literature, performances and art exhibitions. This festival is will move visitors’ hearts, whatever their nationality or religious background, as a creative combination of traditional and modern events marks the year’s Taichung City Mazu International Festival.