The Presidential Office Building will play host next month to Guan Gong (關公), the Chinese deity of war and martial arts.
A bronze statue of Guan Gong from Puji Temple (普濟堂) in Taoyuan County’s Dasi Township (大溪) will lead a procession of more than 1,000 people from Dasi to Taipei, temple officials said.
The officials said the statue came from Fenghua County in Zhejiang Province, China, the hometown of former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), and was installed in the Presidential Office building after Chiang became president.
When Chiang heard about Puji Temple and its large number of Guan Gong devotees, he gave the statue to the temple, using his friend and then-presidential advisor James Wei (魏景蒙), as an intermediary, the officials said.
Dasi Mayor Huang Jui-sung (黃睿松) recently began discussion with temple officials about having the statue visit its former home in Taipei.
Dasi is renowned for its annual birthday celebrations for Guan Gong, which include a variety of cultural and arts events, but the celebrations are only in the Dasi area, the mayor said.
“We see the annual Matsu procession in southern Taiwan making long trips to several cities and counties. So I want to see our Guan Gong procession visit the Presidential Office building,” he said. “That way we can create two big religious festivals in Taiwan — for Guan Gong in the north and for Matsu in the south.”
Huang said Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu (吳志揚) supported his proposal and broached the idea to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) when Ma visited Chungli City (中壢) during the Lunar New Year holidays.
After many planning meetings, the procession has been scheduled to arrive at the Presidential Office on July 26, Hung said.
According to Chen Yi-chun (陳義春), the temple’s chief management official, more than 20 organizations and 1,000 people are to take part in the procession.
It is to begin in Dasi, and pass through Sansia District (三峽) in New Taipei City (新北市) on its way to Taipei, and return to Dasi via Gueishan Township (龜山) in Taoyuan County, he said.