2017 Northern Taiwan Matsu Cultural Festival
The 2017 Northern Taiwan Matsu Cultural Festival will kick-off following the arrival of the Golden Face Matsu at the North Gate Plaza on September 25. Led by Mayor Ko Wen-je, representatives from 8 northern municipalities – as well as those from Chiayi, Yunlin, and Tainan – and members from 26 temples, will join hands in kicking-off the festival with a religious procession around downtown Taipei.
According to Department of Civil Affairs Commissioner Lan Shih-tsung, the annual event has been held since 2004, bringing the Golden Face Matsu from her current abode at Xiao Keelung Fucheng Temple in Sanzhi District of New Taipei back to Taipei City to partake in a series of events celebrating the tradition of sea goddess worship.
Starting in 2011, different municipalities and temples take turns in hosting the event. The host for the event is Shilin Cixian Temple, who will be organizing numerous activities across the 15-day period spanning the districts of Zhongzheng and Shilin. Through the combination of the traditional and the modern, citizens will have the opportunity to learn more about folk belief and rituals.
Between September 25 and 29, the Golden Face Matsu and statues from participating temples will remain at Taipei Provincial City God Temple (address: No. 14, Section 1, Wuchang Street, Zhongzheng District), allowing the faithful to come and pay their respect to the goddess. There will also be an exhibition on the worship of Matsu at the Shilin Civic Hall between September 23 and October 8.
On September 29, the Golden Face Matsu will travel to Shilin and meet up with the statue of Meizhou Matsu who is currently on a tour in Taiwan. Traditional welcoming ceremony will be conducted to celebrate this rare occasion. From October 1 through 5, local community and student performance groups will hold events in honor of the visit by the goddess at the temple plaza. An event spotlighting the tradition of “crawling under the goddess’s palanquin” and a food-tasting session featuring delicacies from Shilin Night Market will take place on October 6, followed by a major street parade in the neighborhood on October 7.