One of old Taipei’s most popular deities is going on a historic visit to Japan and he has an important mission — to help find love matches for single Japanese looking to get married.
Known as the “Old Man Under the Moon” (月下老人) or just the “Moon Elder” (月老), the legendary figure said to originate from the Tang Dynasty has been venerated at Taipei’s Xia Hai City God Temple (霞海城隍廟) in the Dadaocheng area (大稻埕) since his statue was consecrated at the temple in 1971.
It is the first time the deity is taking a trip overseas, a three-day tour of Okinawa starting on Friday, which is Valentine’s Day.
Photo: Shih Chih-ju, Taipei Times
A delegation from Okinawa visited the City God Temple on Saturday to present an official invitation. Unmarried members of the delegation gave offerings and conducted a ritual, seeking help to find their love matches.
Hsieh Cheng-chun (謝正君), administrator of Taipei’s Datong District (大同) where the temple is located, said the deity had agreed to the overseas trip.
“The ‘Moon Elder’ gave his consent. We did this using the divination ritual of Bua-buei (筊杯) [casting of two crescent-shaped paired wooden divination devices],” Hsieh said. “In the temple, we have several consecrated ‘Moon Elder’ deity statues. The one going to Japan is a ‘horcrux’ [a figure with magical powers that contains parts of the deity’s soul]. It will be taken aboard the plane as a piece of carry-on luggage by a temple official.”
He said the deity would travel to Okinawa so that Japanese single men and women could worship it.
“Taiwanese can still come to our temple on Valentine’s Day. We have the ‘Moon Elder’ main deity figure, who will provide his regular service,” Hsieh said.
The visit to Okinawa is a collaboration with the Okinawa Industry Promotion Public Corp, a government agency.
“Activities also include karaoke singing contests, along with the promotion of Taiwanese tea, braised pork rice and other Taiwanese products in Okinawa,” he said.
Although the City God Temple on Dihua Street (迪化街) is not big, it attracts large numbers of devotees at weekends and on holidays.
Single people worship the “Moon Elder” in an attempt to find a love match, while those who are married can seek to obtain a “Shoe of Happiness” from the wife of the deity, as many believe that placing the shoe inside a closet at home can ensure a harmonious relationship.
In recent years, increasing numbers of Japanese tourists have visited the temple.
On Saturday, a 26-year-old Japanese visitor with the surname Ishihara said it was his first visit to the temple.
“I wish to find a pretty girlfriend. We heard people can obtain red linen from the ‘Moon Elder,’ which can help find a person’s true love. If my wish comes true and I marry a good woman, then I shall bring my wife to Taiwan for our honeymoon and present offerings to thank the deity,” Ishihara said.
GREATER NUMBER: The sorties might have been a response to the US and the EU expressing concern on Friday over China’s ‘provocations’ in the Taiwan Strait Twenty-five Chinese military aircraft and four naval ships were detected around Taiwan from 6am Saturday to 6am yesterday, including eight airplanes that had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and another two that entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft that entered Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ were a Y-8 anti-submarine plane and a BZK-005 uncrewed aerial vehicle, the Ministry of National Defense said. The aircraft that flew across the median line include two Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets, four J-16 multipurpose fighters and two J-10 jets, the ministry’s official Web site showed. Taiwan’s armed forces monitored the
Mask easing: Teachers are allowed to take their masks off while lecturing indoors, but students should keep theirs on, as COVID-19 measures ease this week The Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday released new on-campus COVID-19 prevention guidelines, stating that masks can be taken off while exercising, singing, dancing, performing, taking photographs, dining, drinking, video and voice recording, hosting events, presenting speeches and lecturing outdoors. Large outdoor events organized by schools should comply with the mask regulations issued by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), it added. The new guidelines came into effect yesterday, and people in Taiwan are no longer required to wear masks outdoors for the first time since May 19 last year. The CECC announced the easing of the mask mandate on Monday, adding that it
LUNAR NEW YEAR PEAK: Taiwanese who are in China should get vaccinated and consider returning early, as infection rates are expected to increase, the CECC said China faces five major problems once COVID-19 begins spreading there, with a peak in infections likely during the Lunar New Year holidays, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said yesterday. Wang wrote on Facebook that according to the center’s data, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in China is worth noting, as the new Omicron subvariants BF.7 and BA.5.2 spreading in China are highly infectious and are more transmissible than the previously dominating Omicron subvariants. “The virus cannot be eliminated even under China’s strict control measures,” he wrote. “Its policy
‘SEXUAL ASSAULT’: Taipei prosecutors said that cooperation agreements between Taiwan and the Czech Republic grant Czech officials protection against prosecution The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday reaffirmed that it would not charge a Czech official with sexual assault because he is protected by diplomatic immunity. The office released a statement saying it has verified that the man works for the Czech Economic and Cultural Office Taipei’s foreign affairs corps and is thereby protected from criminal prosecution. A foreign graduate student in Taiwan had filed a complaint alleging that the section head of the Czech Economic and Trade Section had sexually assaulted her on April 21 last year. The woman said the Czech official had invited her to his home and then forced her