The Baishatun Matsu Pilgrimage, one of the largest annual religious processions in Taiwan will set off from Miaoli County's Baishatun on Feb.12. About 113,000 people have signed up to participate in this year's procession.
The Baishatun Matsu Pilgrimage will set off from Miaoli County's Baishatun early morning of the 12th and travel to Chao Tian Temple in Yunlin County's Beigang. A flag-raising ceremony was held at 11:40 p.m. on the 8th, announcing the official start of this year's pilgrimage. After dawn, people continued to pour in to sign up to participate in this year's procession.
Matsu Follower: “Hi, director general.”
The square head flag is more than 200 centimeters high and is embroidered with various words. The flag is shaped like a historical Chinese spear. According to a century-old custom, the temple will hold a flag-raising ceremony three days before the pilgrimage, and believers will start a 3-day vegetarian diet. They will also raise the flag and prepare rich offerings, praying for a safe and smooth pilgrimage.
Hung Wen-hua, Chairperson, Gong Tian Temple: “The pilgrimage from Gong Tian Temple in Baishatun to Beigang will last nine days and eight nights. It officially has started when the head flag was lowered in the morning. This year, 113,221 people signed up, an increase of 25 percent.”
The pilgrimage is about 300 kilometers round trip. This religious event was listed as a national intangible cultural asset by the Ministry of Culture in 2010. This year, more than 113,000 people signed up for the 9-day, 8-night trip, a record high. The pilgrimage is expected to return on the afternoon of the 20th.