TAIPEI (The China Post) – Tudigong is the deity closest to the people. In the pioneering days full of hardship in life, the people managed to establish simple temples for Tudigong so that they can pray to him for safety.
Pingxi, famous for its sky lanterns, has many small Tudigong temples along its numerous mountain paths. The Tudigong next to Pingxi Elementary School has kept the local residents company for over a century.
Steeping out the Pingxi Station and walking along the old street to Pingxi Elementary School, you can see the Tudigong temple at the entrance of the school.
The inscriptions on the temple have blurred over time, displaying the faint characters of “Fujugong.” The temple was built in 1917, which was over 100 years ago.
Although the temple host is aged, he still comes to the temple every day to burn incense, add tea, and ensure the incense continues to burn. The temple is also a site where local residents drink tea, chat, and socialize with each other.
However, in the 1980s, there was a lottery craze in Taiwan. The original Tudigong statue was borrowed by a believer for worshipping at home but was never returned.
After discussion, the local residents considered it inappropriate for the temple to be without a statue. Therefore, the residents raised funds to build a new statue, which is the one we see here now.
The faculty and students in Pingxi Elementary School view the Tudigong as their own family elder. When they go to or leave school, they always greet the Tudigong. The Tudigong became Pingxi Elementary School’s best watcher. With the Tudigong there, there is no need to worry about thieves.
In 1915, locals and Mr. Pan Ping-Chu established Yang Shan Xuan Study. The Study was then changed to the Pingxi Branch of the Nuannuan Public School, and then later became the independent Pingxi Public School.
Today, the Pingxi Elementary School is 100 years old. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the school, the organizers decided to scale up the celebration and host a concert and hiking and jogging activities.
On May 26, 2018, the school catered for a banquet with 50 tables inside the school and invited alumni back to jointly celebrate the event at their alma mater.
For this celebration event, all faculty members and students created small sky lanterns and asked everyone present to write their blessings for Pingxi Elementary School, such as “100 years of Pingxi” and “Eternal development for Pingxi Elementary School and the Pingxi area” on the sky lanterns.
A designer was employed to design an installation art based on Pingxi’s special species Lilium speciosum and sky lanterns as a memorial to the school’s centennial celebration.