TAICHUNG (CNA) — Dajia Matsu returned to her home temple, the Jenn Lann Temple in Dajia District, Taichung City, late Saturday following a nine-day annual “inspection tour” of temples in central and southern Taiwan that began on June 11.
The grand Dajia Matsu Pilgrimage, Taiwan’s largest annual religious procession, ended shortly before midnight after three idols of Matsu, the beloved goddess of the seas, were carried out of their separate palanquins and placed on the alter at the temple.
“Dajia Matsu has returned!” shouted enthusiastic believers when the procession, joined by hundreds of faithfuls, arrived in Dajia Saturday afternoon, concluding a 340-kilometer journey that started in Taichung and winded through Changhua, Yunlin and Chiayi counties.
The religious town, packed by Matsu believers, was inundated in the thunder of firecrackers as the procession moved toward Jenn Lann Temple. At night, dazzling fireworks brightened the sky.
Yen Ching-piao (顏清標), chairman of the temple, said he was grateful after seeing all the temples that Matsu had visited over the few days offered their warm welcome to the pilgrims by providing food and water.
“Seeing in the eyes, having gratitude in the heart,” he said.
The Dajia Matsu inspection procession through four municipalities was planned for March 19-28 this year, but was postponed due to fears about the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. It did not take place until the pandemic was effectively contained in Taiwan.
During the nine-day pilgrimage, participants were all asked to wear face masks and follow public health protocols, including maintaining a social distance.