By John Liu ,The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Lienchiang County government announced recently that Mazu religious park will be open to the public on Oct. 13 (Sept. 9 of the lunar year), and a grand ceremony to remember Mazu will also be held on that day. Mazu religious park is located in the Matsu Islands, where the world’s only Mazu sacred place is situated. The religious park also holds the world’s only holy palanquin tunnel, used to pray for blessings. The tunnel is located beneath a giant Mazu statue. It is believed that people may receive Mazu’s blessing by passing through this tunnel. The Mazu statue is constructed with 365 pieces of granites, with a symbolic meaning of “blessing all for 365 days in a year.” The statue is 29.6 meters tall, which is symbolic of the Matsu Island’s area of 29.6 square kilometers. The construction is so designed to symbolize the inseparable connection between Mazu and Matsu. A ceremony to worship the goddess will be held between Oct. 12 and Oct. 14. Numerous activities including a carnival, traditional drama performance, and a showing of the “Mazu at Matsu” short movie award winners will take place.
Mazu, the Chinese goddess of the sea, is said to protect fishermen and sailors. Mazu is respected and remembered for her devotion for her sailor father, and her brave efforts to save him at sea.