Crowds flock to temples as the Year of the Rooster crows

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Devotees packed temples across the country to pray for prosperity and well-being on Saturday, the first day of the lunar calendar — and the Year of the Rooster. Among the most crowded places of worship were Nantou County’s Zihnan Temple (紫南宮), where an estimated 50,000 worshippers lined up for more than seven kilometers for the chance to receive a golden egg containing cash or even gold. The giveaway is an annual tradition for the Jhushan Township (竹山) temple, which this year prepared 2,000 of the eggs. The cash gifts on Saturday ranged up to NT$3,600, while a few special prizes of pure gold were also handed out by the Earth God temple. At the front of the line was a man surnamed Cheng (鄭), who said he had camped out near the temple for two weeks just to clinch the first spot. Another lucky winner was a man surnamed Tsou (鄒), from nearby Caotun Township (草屯鎮), whose egg contained a “yuanbao” (元寶) pure gold ingot.

The Taoist temple is also famous for loaning cash to those in need. It was voted by netizens in 2014 as the No. 1 temple at which to pray for wealth. Devotees can borrow money from the Earth God in the temple to improve their business prospects in the coming year. Those whose businesses pick up and turn a profit must repay the loan.