TAIPEI (The China Post) — Dajia Mazu Pilgrimage (大甲媽祖繞境) will start its 9-day and 8-night journey at 11: 5 p.m. on Friday and is expected to return to Dajia Jenn Lann Temple (大甲鎮瀾宮) in Taichung on April 18.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) also arrived at Dajia Jenn Lann Temple on Friday afternoon to invite Mazu out of the shrine.
The President was joined by Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) and Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Yuan Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌).
The theme of the pilgrimage this year is “Promise,” hoping to convey the goal of “meeting the gods, sailing for a hundred years, and sharing the better world.”
Also, a grand “Mazu Light Concert” will be held on Friday evening in Daja Stadium (大甲體育場).
The concert features singers and performers including Jacky Wu (吳宗憲), ELLA and Nine One One (玖壹壹).
Jenn Lann Temple said that although the concert would be held outdoors, people entering the stadium must wear masks.
The pilgrimage journey is 340 kilometers long, with various refreshment stations along the way like a large food court.
In the past, all kinds of delicious food had to be packed in washbasins and buckets.
In response to epidemic prevention, the temple called for refreshment stations to change barrels into boxes as containers in line with the epidemic prevention measures.
Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea, is one of the most revered deities on the island, where today, about 870 temples are dedicated to her worship.
There is a common saying that “The Craze for Mazu in March.”
In March of the lunar calendar, the folk are busy with various temple fairs celebrating Mazu’s birthday (March 23 of the lunar calendar).
“Pilgrimage” means that the believers in this area welcome the statues of the gods in this area from the temple, and they are placed in the sedan chair to represent the gods to visit the world.
People followed the procession with incense, while households along the way would set up an altar to worship and pray for blessing.