Happy Lunar New Year ! Did you get your red envelopes yet?

During Lunar New Year, many temples in Taiwan and other countries in Asia have massive crowd gathered there either to get a good luck red envelope, to pray for a peaceful year, or to request for a charm and fortune telling paper from the temple.

One of the most popular temple to visit in Taiwan during this cheerful time is Lukang Mazu Temple/ 鹿港天后宮.

Lukang Mazu Temple was first built in 1725 to worship Mazu, protector of the sea and boats. Mazu was born in the year 960, and passed away in the year 987, when she was twenty eight years old. Deity Mazu has been known for rescuing people from sea disasters, and many comes to pray for safety of fishing trips and traveling by water. There are reports of related miracles by Mazu date as early as Song Dynasty where people said they saw Mazu, wearing a red dress, comes to their rescue when they are in trouble on the sea.

Roads connecting to the front entrance of the temple has many street vendors and food stands. Weekends and holidays at the front of the temples are packed with visitors. Lunar calendar’s January till March is the peak season for Lukang Mazu Temple. (Photo Above: Main street to Lukang Mazu Temple)

(Photo Above: One of the popular snacks is the fried soft shell crab that are like popcorn size)

As you walk through the gates, you will see large offering tables in the front court yard.

There are incense and gold money papers for worshipers to buy if one did not have those prepared prior to the trip. There are several architectural highlights in the temple. The Bagua Coffered Ceiling is one of them. Apparently this type of ceiling can keep room temperature constant, and prevent dusts from falling down. Every temple has a different design with different themes for their ceilings.

The beams supporting the ceilings also has many animal decorations and paintings on it.

Another architecture highlights is their Dragon Pillars that supports the building. There total of 3 pairs of dragon pillars in this temple, and they are located at Front, Main and Rear Hall. The special part about the dragons on the pillars at the Rear Hall is that they have five paws, which is rarely seen on the stone dragons in Taiwan. Only halls worshiping the Heaven Emperor have such dragon designs.

If you look closely, you will see many different carvings and decorations along the roof, and many has symbolic meanings. There are also several paintings done by local artists dated from the year it was built to the later renovation periods, each with a different theme and story to tell.

The doors in the temple also have protector guards painted on them. Unfortunately due to age and environment, the paint on the door has worn off.

So next time if you are in Lukang Town, ZhangHua County of Central Taiwan, and wants to look around, make sure to take a trip to Lukang Mazu Temple and visit the food vendors along the way. There are also several other historic temples in the area, and all within 5-10 minutes of walking distance.

*Because Lukang Mazu Temple/鹿港天后宮 it is a popular destination, they do have English Language choice on their website, please access here :

http://www.lugangmazu.org/default.html

Lukang Mazu Temple Address: 台灣彰化縣鹿港鎮玉順里中山路430號 / #430 ZongShan Road, Lugang, ZhangHua County, Taiwan

Suggested Transportation Method: ZhangHua Bus (彰化客運) #1002 from ZhangHua Train Station, or #2003 from TaiChung City. Taxis are also available at ZhangHua Train station.