‘Foot-washing’ for filial piety attracts world-record crowd


TAIPEI — A “foot-washing” activity — aimed at promoting filial piety — drew 4,363 pairs of feet as participants in front of the Presidential Office on Saturday, the eve of Senior Citizens Day in Taiwan, shattering a Guinness World Record for the most people washing their feet at the same time.

A Guinness World Records adjudicator confirmed that the number of parent-child duos beat the previous record set in Taiwan.

A total of 3,724 children washed their mothers’ feet in Pingtung in 2011, said Yunlin Association of the R.O.C, the event’s co-organizer that represents residents from southern Taiwan’s Yunlin County.

But on Saturday — children washed their mothers’ or grandmothers’ feet.

It is hoped that the ritual, which demonstrates children’s appreciation of the unselfish love shown them by their parents, could raise public awareness of paying respect to one’s parents, the association said.

It is so touching to see so many people attend the event, said Chang Chao-kuo, head of the association.

Chang said he hopes that the action of foot washing could inspire the public to treat their parents with love and respect, create positive values and lead to a harmonious society.

“The virtuous are not left alone,” he said, referring to the Confucian Analects.

The campaign drew participation from all walks of life, and many of the participants said it was a good opportunity to both express gratefulness for their parents and pass down the spirit to the next generation.

Huang Ya-chun, 17, said she felt honored to wash the feet of her 103-year-old great grandmother.

“Great-grandma often reads the Buddhist scripture to me,” she said. “I like spending time with her and sharing what has been happening around.”

The standard ritual calls for children to first bow to their parents, kneel to present them a cup of tea, massage and pound their backs, and then kneel on one knee to wash their feet.