A few days ago, Andy Lu, who was born in Taiwan but migrated to the US, came back to Taiwan with his Hong Kong-born girlfriend Carmen Ng to tie the knot at the West Kuan Yu Temple in Yilan City. Lu’s father Lu Chin-tsung says “Catholics and Protestants can get married in churches, so we can get married in temples.” Andy says he was blown over by the arrangements his family made. A spokesperson for the West Kuan Yu Temple says the temple was consecrated 170 years ago, but this is the first time the deity Lord Kuan has been witness to a wedding there. It is a very joyous occasion, he adds.
30-year old Lu, who went to study in the US after finishing elementary school, now works for the international courier firm UPS. His 31-year-old bride Carmen Ng moved to the US with her family when she was little, and now works as a lawyer. The two have known each other for 18 years.
In order to prepare for the wedding, the groom’s father went to the temple early in the morning to do a practice run. He arranged for six pairs of men and women to present the couple with flowers and wish them good fortune. The participants went through the moves in a dress rehearsal, and details of the ceremony were worked out with Lu Chin-tsung as director. He was even busier and more conscientious than the couple themselves. The father of the groom said “Our old home was next to the West Kuan Yu Temple, and Lord Kuan is venerated as a deity by our whole family.” Lu hopes his son will cherish his marriage in the loyal and solemn spirit exemplified by Lord Kuan, never leaving or abandoning his family.
Using an unexpected turn of phrase, Lu Chin-tsung says he hopes his son and daughter-in-law will “make love” forever. People standing nearby are somewhat taken aback by this expression, but he goes on to explain that he means they should always love their parents, family members and other relatives. The wedding ceremony follows ancient traditions with offerings of incense, prayers for happiness and gifts of flowers. Under the watchful gaze of Lord Kuan, those present wish that the couple will live in conjugal bliss to a ripe old age, that they will soon be blessed with children, and that they will do well in their professions in America and enjoy good health.
Andy Lu says he is overjoyed by the arrangements his family has made. Everyone is happy and it was very lively. It was a great feeling, he says. When asked whether maybe it was too traditional and unromantic, he says, “It’s not unromantic. The main thing is to be together with our families.” Carmen, for her part, says “I am very happy and it has been great fun.” (LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED BY JULIAN CLEGG)