“March Fun Mazu” is a civic event taking place every April (March in Lunar Calendar) in Taiwan. Regardless of religion, every year the traditional yet fashionable “Dajia Mazu International Tourism Cultural Festival” draws tens of thousands of tourists to gather in Dajia to witness the event and even more help to revitalize local business.
The goddess of the sea, Mazu is the most prevailing belief in Taiwan. There are 870 large and small Mazu temples across Taiwan. In the Lunar month of March when Mazu was born, the Sedan of Mazu based in Zhenlan Temple, Dajia, Taichung, begins its course south, on the way through Zhanghua County, Yunlin County, Jiayi County to Tainan. The Mazu Pilgrimage activity is the earliest in history and the biggest Matsu Festival in Taiwan.
The Zhenlan Temple’s pilgrimage date and time is set by casting moon blocks, on the day of Lantern Festival. During the 9-day-8-night pilgrimage, following tradition the sacrifice ceremony of 8 major steps take order at specific time and places: Praying for Safety, Step on and Sit on the Sedan, Departure, Station, Praying for Happiness, Longevity Wishes, Returning, and Settling Down. The faithful ceremony is a unique culture itself.
Many temple activities take place whilst the pilgrimage, Gods’ puppet show, floats and dragon dance, etc. During the process, with great passion, people would prepare fruits, food and incense to worship the god while tea and drinks for the pilgrims. Some pilgrims would make their way to Mazu’s Sedan for good luck. The magnificent parade of Matsu Festival hits another climax when it returns from Fengtian Temple at Xingang, Jiayi. Roadside banquets by tens of thousands of followers cater for families, friends and the pilgrimage. Gongs and drums roll, the whole town turns out to the grand occasion. The festival is open for young tourists to join the journey and experience the fun.
This year, the date of Mazu Pilgrimage was celebrated last April 7 (March 3 of Lunar Calendar) at 22:00.