While it may not be as famous as the statue of Juliet in Verona, Italy, the matchmaking deity at the Taipei Xia Hai City God Temple (霞海城隍廟) may be able to provide an extra boost of good luck to single people hoping to marry and those seeking smooth relationships.
According to local legend, the “Old Man under the Moon” (yuexialaoren, 月下老人, or the deity of love and marriage), helps single people find suitable partners, and in the run-up to Chinese Lovers’ Day yesterday, visitors have packed the Taipei temple.
Chinese Lovers’ Day is the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. The day is considered one of the four best days in the year to pray to the deity for good luck in love and relationships, the temple said.
Titan Wu (吳孟寰), who works as a guide at the temple, said that as many as 1,000 visitors a day came to pray for luck in love as the big day was approaching.
Among foreign visitors, Japanese tourists were the most common, he said.
A decade ago, single women were the most likely to seek a bit of extra luck in finding Mr Right. However, in recent years, the number of male visitors has increased dramatically.
Different from practices adopted in other Taiwanese temples, single people praying to the matchmaking deity do not have to use divine blocks for confirmation. They only have to pray sincerely.
The temple encourages people who have prayed to the deity and have then gotten married to bring a piece of their wedding cake to the temple as a way to show gratitude.
The temple keeps a record of the wedding cakes it receives and says it found that from 2001 to last year, 50,000 couples have tied the knot after praying at the temple, including people from Japan and South Korea.
Does praying for love always work and can love happen right away? Wu replied with a story about a woman who got married within three months after visiting the temple. However, he also met a woman who prayed for eight years.
However, “in the end, she met her soul mate and got married. You have to believe it and it will eventually happen,” he said.