Sat, Mar 03, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Penghu temples go all-out with varied turtle offerings

By Liu Yu-ching and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A turtle-shaped installation made from local produce for the Lantern Festival celebration held by Jing Hai Temple in Wukan Borough in Penghu County’s Magong City is pictured on Thursday.

Photo: Liu Yu-ching, Taipei Times

Temples in Penghu County are displaying a variety of turtle-shaped figures made of cabbage, edible seaweed and beer bottles to celebrate Lantern Festival today.

The practice, known as qi gui (乞龜), which literally means begging the turtles, is part of the Lantern Festival, which sees even more lively participation in Penghu than during the Lunar New Year, the county’s National Scenic Area Administration Web site said.

Each year, in the days leading up to the Lantern Festival, temples produce turtle-shaped figures made of different goods, such as gold or rice, that people can take home as promises of safety, health and good fortune throughout the year, the Web site said.

People who take home these items must thank the deities the following year by returning even larger amounts of goods to the temple as the Lantern Festival approaches.

The practice has seen the “turtles” grow in size every year and become the most “fertile” kind of religious offering, the Ministry of Culture said on its Web site.

This year, the Jing Hai Temple (靖海宮) in Magong City’s Wukan Borough (烏崁) made a turtle out of locally grown cabbage. It also created an ocean-themed turtle made of coral and different shells.

The Long De Temple (龍德宮) in Baisha Township’s (白沙) Chihkan Village (赤崁), which possesses the rights to harvest the wild seaweed on Gupo Island (姑婆嶼), made a 2,376kg turtle out of edible seaweed. It plans to distribute it later to several disadvantaged groups.

Meanwhile, the Jhu Wang Temple (朱王廟) in Magong’s Shihcyuan Borough (石泉) built a turtle out of beer bottles. Created by artist Chen Fu-chi (陳扶氣), it required 150 cases of beer to make.

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