This year’s annual Hsilo Bridge Tourism and Cultural Festival will be different from usual. The Choshui River stands between the Matsu goddess statues of Yunlin County’s Hsilo Township and Changhua County’s Hsichou Township, but at this year’s festival the two will meet on Hsilo Bridge from where Hsilo Township’s statue — known as Taiping Matsu — will begin a one day and one night tour of Changhua County’s towns and villages.
Last year’s Hsilo Bridge Tourism and Cultural Festival was held alongside Hsilo Township’s Fuhsing Temple Matsu parade. At this year’s festival, to be held from Dec. 10 to Dec. 12, the two sides will collaborate once again, but a new chapter of the festival’s history will be written when the statues exchange places with their counterpart from across the river.
According to representatives from Fuhsing Temple, for the past six years the Taiping Matsu has done a 14 day tour to 13 of Changhua and Yunlin’s local religious festivals. But in March, Yang Wen-chung, the chairman of the parade organizing committee, cast divination moon blocks to see what Matsu thought of continuing with the same parade route. The blocks came back with a “laughing response” suggesting Matsu was not keen on the proposal so it was decided to suspend this year’s parade. But when the Yunlin County government proposed that the bridge festival be held along with the Matsu parade, the temple authorities once again cast the moon blocks and got Matsu’s approval. The parade, however, was cut down to only two days.
photo: Chan Shih-hung
Fuhsing Temple representatives say that the theme of this year’s parade will be “Embracing Peace and Giving Thanks for Peace.” Its aim is to protect people on both sides of the river and ensure a bumper harvest. On Dec. 10, the two goddesses will travel to their respective sides of the bridge where worshippers will say prayers. On the following day they will proceed to the middle of the bridge for a joint celebration. The Hsichou Matsu will then cross the river to view a performance, while the Taiping Matsu will spend one day and one night traveling around Changhua.
On Dec. 11 there will be firework displays and performances of Taiwanese opera at the ends of the bridge. At noon the following day, Taiping Matsu will return to Hsilo Township from where she will set off on a parade around Hsilo.
(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSALTED BY TAIJING WU)
1. collaborate v.
合作 (he2 zuo4)
例: He collaborated with one of the world’s best guitarists for his latest album.
2. divination n.
占卜 (zhan4 bu3)
例: We learned about some local divination techniques during our trip to Africa.
3. harvest n.
收成 (shou1 cheng2)
例: This year’s harvest has produced lower yields than we expected.
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