Fri, Mar 03, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Pingan Turtle breaks record at 18,888 jin

By Hsieh Chieh-yu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A turtle-shaped rice cake offered to the Holy Lord of Splitting Mountains is pictured on Sunday in Nantou County’s Lugu Township.

Photo: Hsieh Chieh-yu, Taipei Times

The annual making of the Pingan Turtle — a turtle-shaped rice cake to ask the Holy Lord of Splitting Mountains’ (開山聖王) blessing for a prosperous year, safety and peace — on Sunday surpassed its record weight at 18,888 jin, or 11,332kg.

The making of the cake is part of the deity’s birthday celebrations at Kaishan Temple in Nantou County’s Lugu Township (鹿谷), the temple’s management committee chairman Chen Chung-hsi (陳忠西) said.

Local residents gather annually near the temple to help make the turtle, with some preparing the source materials and others molding the cooked glutinous rice into the shape of a turtle.

The event was first celebrated in 1998, at which time the cake weighed only 1,320kg, Chen said.

This year’s turtle was 4,200kg heavier than the peach-shaped sticky rice cake prepared by the Shoutien Temple in the county’s Mingjian Township (名間), but unlike the peach, the turtle has a hollow spot under its shell housing bags of rice to be distributed to disadvantaged people, Chen said.

Nantou County Commissioner Lin Ming-chen (林明溱) and Central Taiwan Joint Services Center deputy head Tang Huo-sheng (湯火聖) also attended the ceremony.

The ceremony also included traditional events such as puppet shows and other performances, Chen said, adding that the temple held a concert and set off fireworks in the evening.

The temple’s diety is not a traditional deity, but was a mortal later deified by a Qing government official.

The temple said that it chose for the Pingan Turtle to weigh 18,888 jin, as the number eight in Mandarin sounds similar to the word fa (發), which is taken in the auspicious context of fa cai (發財, becoming rich and prosperous).

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