Mon, Dec 23, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Worshipers line up to book luminaries at Longshan Temple

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

People holding small plastic chairs jostle for a position at Longshan Temple in Taipei’s Wanhua District yesterday as they line up to register for good fortune luminaries in their name at the temple. Registration started at 6am yesterday morning.

Photo: CNA

A long line of people formed in front of Taipei’s Longshan Temple yesterday, as worshipers jostled for the chance to register to light a good-luck luminary, a traditional ritual supposed to bring good fortune for the Lunar New Year.

Known in Mandarin as guangmingdeng (光明燈), the Taoist ritual, taking place at local temples before the Lunar New Year holidays, sees worshipers write down information about family members before temple staff put the information inside luminaries they help to light.

The service at Longshan Temple, one of the city’s oldest temples, has long been popular among worshipers, and people wait in line every year to register.

This year, the temple has increased the number of guangmingdeng from 12,000 to 18,000 to meet demand and avoid long lines.

However, worshipers still formed a line days before registration opened, with the first 1,000 slots filled before 7am yesterday.

A Taipei resident surnamed Shen (沈) who secured a slot said he and members of his family had taken turns to line up in front of the temple since last month because of the great competition for places in the service each year.

“Guangmingdeng is a important ritual that will give us a smooth year ahead and I think it’s worth the wait,” Sheng said.

The vice chairman of the temple, Huang Shu-wei (黃書瑋), said the temple had increased its number of luminaries this year and urged people not to line up in front of the temple.

The temple is accepting 1,000 registrations a day until the 18,000 slots have been filled.

However, some worshipers shouted at temple workers yesterday, urging the temple to increase the daily allocation of registration slots available after it was announced that the quota of 1,000 had been reached.

The temple agreed to accept another 200 registrations later that day.

Huang said the temple also offers online guangmingdeng and an tai sui services, and he encouraged people to complete the ritual online.

An online guangmingdeng service is also available at Taipei’s Bao An Temple. Xingtien Temple does not offer an online guangmingdeng service.

Lighting a luminary can cost from NT$600 to more than NT$2,000 depending on its size.

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