|On the train|
I got to experience something really awesome earlier this month in Taizhong, Taiwan: the annual Festival of Mazu! Mazu is an indigenous goddess of the sea/mother goddess that's worshipped in Asian countries. Every year in Taizhong Mazu is taken on a pilgrimmage around different temples in the area. Basically that means they take a statue/idol of Mazu and parade her around in a palanquin like royalty and it's meant to be like a vacation for her. Lots of people come to celebrate it, and when I say "lots" I mean more people than I've ever seen in my life! They all wanted to see Mazu and get blessed by her. It almost felt like a riot to be honest. At different stops along the pilgrimmage people would set up tables with food offerings and incense. They also had tents and lots of free food for the people who came, as a way of asking for blessings. People also believed that if they crounched underneath the parade and Mazu passed over them then they would get blessings that way. There were also lots of firecrackers and some were lit dangerously close to me!
|The market on the way to the temple|
We had to leave before Mazu got back in order to catch our train. It would have been fun to see but I'm glad we didn't get back to Taipei too late.