Fri, Feb 20, 2015 - Page 2 News List

Zihnan tops survey on popular temples

FORTUNE HUNTING:The temple in Nantou County attracts thousands of devotees on New Year’s Day waiting to get special coins believed to bring wealth

Staff writer, with CNA

A devotee takes a picture of a special coin she received at the Zihnan Temple in Nantou County’s Jhushan Township yesterday, the first day of the Year of the Sheep.

Photo: Hsieh Chieh-yu, Taipei Times.

Zihnan Temple (紫南宮) was the most popular temple for people praying for wealth in the Year of the Sheep, an online survey showed.

The temple in Nantou County’s Jhushan Township (竹山) topped the list with 10,175 votes in a survey conducted by yam.com from Jan. 7 to Feb. 4.

The temple, which honors the Chinese deity Tudi Gong (土地公, the earth god) and his wife, attracts thousands of believers every year who wait in kilometers-long lines to receive special coins believed to bring wealth if placed in the right spot at home or at work according to feng shui rules.

On Jan. 1 this year, more than 20,000 people showed up, forming a 7km-long line to wait for their turn to receive a coin from the famed temple.

On one side of the coin was a portrait of the earth god, while the other side was inscribed with a sheep to signify the Chinese zodiac sign for the new lunar year. The sheep was surrounded by five bats to signify luck, as “bat” in Mandarin sounds like the word for “luck.”

The temple gave out lucky coins again yesterday, the first day of the Year of the Sheep.

Next on the list of the nation’s most popular temples for fortune seekers was Fude Temple (福德宮) in New Taipei City’s Jhonghe District (中和), which received 9,323 votes.

The hillside temple, which also honors the earth god, is popular because it is open 24 hours a day and offers a panoramic view of Taipei at night at an elevation of 302m.

Visitors often trade coins in bigger denominations for two NT$1 coins at the temple and keep them in their pockets, which is believed to bring wealth. Visitors also flock to the temple to rub the gold ingot in the earth god’s hand.

The temple that won the third-highest number of votes was Fuan Temple (福安宮) in Pingtung County’s Checheng Township (車城), the largest earth god temple in the nation.

The temple received 8,892 votes.

The 353-year-old temple is known for a paper money burner the temple spent NT$6 million (US$189,650) to build. The burner is dubbed the earth god’s bill counter because it is designed to easily consume any money tossed into it.

Local folk culture experts offered a few tips to believers seeking to touch the gold ingot in search of wealth. They said it is imperative that visitors wear clothes with pockets or bring a bag to bring their fortune home.

Second, believers have to follow the correct routine in rubbing the ingot to gain luck. They should rub the ingot from back to front three times and toward their pockets to ensure that “money” is funneled in the right direction.

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