Categories: Kinmen Island

Jincheng City God Festival Temple Madness : Jinmen Island

The number one attraction of Kinmen island and the highlight of my trip was the insane City God festival celebrated in Kinmen’s capital – Jincheng Town. I was just plain lucky, I did not plan to attend the festival but when preparations for the celebrations were everywhere and the street ghost clearing routine the night before and the temple celebrations of Jinsha Shaobei were just an appetizer for a full day of temple parade craziness. This year, Kinmen was aiming for a Guinness world record for the longest temple parade in human history and people from all over Taiwan came in to try and make that happen.

I’m a sucker for temple parades, I can never get enough of those. It’s one of my favorite things about living in Tainan in southern Taiwan and a magical experience for someone who grew up surrounded by boring monotheistic religions. The colors, the sounds, the smells, the Gods, the ghosts, the fireworks, the people. It overwhelms your every sense.

 

Let’s start the celebrations…

 

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The Taiwanpedia explains :

On the 12th day of the fourth lunar month, the Wudao City God Temple moved, and so after that date is the temple fair, and is also the date of the island’s biggest festival. The crowds throng the streets of Jincheng Township, and the scene is noisy and lively. The locals call this “Welcoming the City God.” Another festival takes place in Jinsha (金沙) Township in Tianpu (田浦) Village’s Temple of Mount Tai, however this one concerns the ritual transfer of the god from Shandong’s (山東) Mount Tai to the City God Temple. In the temple, sacrifices are made to the City Duke, the City God’s wife, and his birthday is celebrated on the 28th day of the third lunar month. The sacrifice to the god is performed on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month.

A key belief among people from Kinmen (金門). In ancient times the City God (城隍) was a nature god that defended city walls, and progressively developed into a god to whom one prayed for good luck and to ward off natural disasters, as well as to protect the country and bless its people. In the Five Dynasties period he was promoted to an official title, and the Ming founder (明太祖) systematized the nomenclature, so that the main god was conferred the rank of City Emperor (都城隍); local prefectures had a City Duke (公), Provinces had a City Marquis (侯), and counties had a City Count (伯). The City God Temple in Wudao (浯島), Kinmen is addressed to the City Emperor, also known as “Xian You Ba (顯佑伯).” Since the City God has the function for believers of a protector god, he also has a juridical function, and an important social function as well.

 

Photos not enough? I’ve got some videos:

 

Beginning the parade…

 

A Gods’ dance routing…

 

Spicy girls dancing on poles…

 

 

Back to the photos.

 

Spicy girls…

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Lions…

 

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Taiwanese ladies…

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Gods…

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The Chiang Kai-Shek God…

 

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Kids…

 

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Handstand guy… (Ming Cheng Huang – a famous Taiwanese who does handstands all over the world, watch his TedX “talk“)

 

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It was a day to remember. If you’re traveling to Kinmen, do try and schedule it around this amazing festival.

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