In collaboration with Dihua Street’s Xiahai City God Temple (霞海城隍廟), the Lin Family Mansion and Garden, a historical site in Banciao (板橋), New Taipei City (新北市), is set to play host to various activities celebrating the upcoming Lovers’ Day (also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day).
This is also one of the best times of the year for single men and women searching for love to pray to the “Old Man Under the Moon” (yuexialaoren), the deity of love, matchmaking and marriage.
Lovers’ Day is on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, which falls on Aug. 23 this year.
On Aug. 11 the Old Man Under the Moon statue from the Xiahai City God Temple, which is said to be one of the most efficacious, will visit the 160-year-old garden and help those looking for love find suitable life partners.
Succinctness is a good strategy when praying to the deity, temple manager Chen Wen-wen (陳文文) said.
“Just state your name, birth and address, and try to keep what you want for an ideal spouse short and simple. Something like ‘as handsome as film star Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城武) and as wealthy as businessman Terry Gou (郭台銘)’ is good enough,” Chen said.
Celestial matchmaker aside, the organizers will also hold two free matchmaking services for single people aged between 20 and 50.
Last year, 40 participants were successfully paired up, according to historical site head Lo Pei-hsuan (羅珮瑄).
Lo also said that they have mapped out the 10 most romantic spots in the garden for couples to explore.
Inside the ancient housing complex, wedding customs and traditions are showcased in an exhibition showing a variety of wedding paraphernalia accompanied by an introduction (in Chinese only) explaining the ritual.
Curated by noted anthropologist Ruan Chang-rui (阮昌銳), the exhibition started yesterday and will run through Aug. 26.
Meanwhile, a mock traditional Chinese nuptial gives visitors the chance to dress in old-fashioned marriage garments and be carried in a bridal sedan chair.
The Lovers’ Day activities will also include a Taiwanese glove puppet performance by the I Wan Jan puppetry troupe and a puppet show by the Infinite Cosplay Theater, a performance group dedicated to the art of cosplay (costume play).
The Xiahai City God Temple has co-held the annual event since 2006, Chen said, partly because the temple wants to express its gratitude for the contribution the Lin Family, one of Taiwan’s foremost families during the Qing dynasty, has made to the development of Dadaocheng (大稻埕) over the years.
However, there is one thing that the well preserved ancient home has that the temple lacks.
“At the temple, you need to buy incense sticks and make offerings, but it is all free here,” Chen said.
For more information and to sign up online for the matchmaking service, visit the event’s -Chinese-language Web site.