全台瘋媽祖/白沙屯媽祖進香北港 三進三退儀式 | Follow Baishatun Mazu Pilgrimage like a pro

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媽祖繞境是台灣一年一度的宗教文化盛典,除了被Discovery探索頻道認為是世界三大宗教盛事活動之一,更被聯合國教科文組織列入《人類非物質文化遺產代表作名錄》。

TAIPEI (The China Post) – The nine-day Mazu Pilgrimage in Taiwan is an annual religious festival celebrating the birthday of Mazu. Hailed by Discovery Channel as one of the world’s three largest religious activities, the festival is also included on UNESCO’s world intangible cultural heritage list.

起源自17世紀清朝以降,媽祖隨著閩南一帶移民信眾分靈來臺奉祀,漸漸成為臺灣民間百姓普遍信仰。

Mazu, the Chinese sea goddess, who came to Taiwan during the Qing dynasty with migrants from China’s southwest coast, has gradually become very popular among Taiwan believers as she provides guidance and protection for sailors.

而進香過程中,最引人注目、歡欣鼓舞的儀式絕對是白沙屯媽祖鑾轎抵達北港朝天宮前,準備入廟的「三進三退」儀式。

The Baishatun Mazu Pilgrimage is one of the most popular pilgrimage routes, in addition to the Dajia Mazu Pilgrimage, featuring special rituals featuring the statue of Baishatun Mazu sitting in the palanquin and going from Gongtian Temple (拱天宮) in Miaoli County to Chaotian Temple (朝天宮) in Yunlin County.

「三進三退」儀式指的是在建築物前來回前進、後退三次的行轎模式,此儀式根據老一輩流傳下來的說法是為了向鎮宅神明或當地神靈行禮致意。在神明遶境出巡、進香等場合皆可看到三進三退的儀式,屬於神靈間的問安、行禮方式。

The important ritual, during which Mazu goes back and forth three times in a sedan chair in front of local buildings, is the way Mazu extends greetings and pays tribute to house gods and local gods. By conducting the ritual, organizers also hope Mazu will bring peace and regards to local people.

在白沙屯媽祖北港進香的途中,大家可以看到,媽祖有時候會在民宅騎樓、空地、簷廊等地短暫休息,這時媽祖鑾轎便會以大門為區隔,神轎背向建築物,三進三退後停駐戶外,此稱為「停駕」;另一個大家常常與停駕搞混的為「駐駕」,媽祖鑾轎背向建築物,三進三退後直接進入建築物內,即代表要駐駕過夜。

During the pilgrimage, you will see how the Baishatun Mazu sometimes takes a short break at arcades, open spaces, or verandas facing the front of buildings and main doors. Sometimes, she will also decide to stay for the night and enter the building by carrying out the ritual.

依照白沙屯媽祖過往的傳統,要在哪裡停駕、駐駕皆由媽祖鑾轎決定,曾發生下午兩點媽祖即決定要駐駕過夜的情形,也有過走到深夜媽祖仍未決定駐駕地點的經驗,全交由媽祖決定。

However, where or when Mazu will stop is always uncertain. Sometimes the sea goddess already decided to stay overnight at one place as early as 2 p.m., other times she won’t decide until as late as midnight.

當媽祖鑾轎停駕休息時,廟方人員會宣佈停駕時間,時間一到即出發;駐駕過夜的話,廟方人員會視情況斟酌,或擲筊請示媽祖,並宣佈隔日起駕出發時間。

When the goddess decides to stay, accompanied staff from the temple will make the announcement and wait for the direction again by throwing the divination blocks for the departure time the next day.