The Tainan God temple celebrations just get crazier every week. Just when I think I’ve seen everything, Tainan hosts another unbelievable temple party for some other God or temple and I get to see some more.
This one started 2 in the morning. I know, because I woke up to what sounded like a huge explosion combined with a massive earth quake. My windows were shaking with that first boom, and from that point on it kept going for more than 24 hours – endless fireworks and firecrackers from the nearby temples. A few seconds after that, all the dogs in my building complex started to bark, and we’re talking about one really big complex, maybe the biggest in Tainan. There was no sleeping with something like that, though I’m sure the Taiwanese didn’t lose a second of sleep over this.
Next day was worse. I was driving around looking for a quiet place and ended up napping on a comfy sofa in one of the coffee places. After freshening up a bit, I drove back to my home and came across hordes of people pouring off buses with the strangest temple ceremony stuff. I finally gave up, parked my scooter and started walking around. Turns out that temples from all over Taiwan came to Tainan to throw a party for the 300 years birthday for one of the oldest temples in Taiwan – the Koxinga temple. Zheng Cheng Kung, Koxinga, is a Chinese-Japanese local hero who “liberated” Taiwan from the Dutch during the 17th (?) century, and who my university is named after. Since they celebrate this event every 30 years, this was a 10th anniversary for the 30th anniversary.
It was the biggest celebration I saw yet. Although I can’t quite give you a full sense of what it was like, the smell, the smoke, the colors, the betelnuts, I was able to capture a few videos of what was going on.
Fireworks were going non-stop for hours, bigger and louder than independence day in Israel. There were fireworks where ever I looked:
Want a closer look? they light up those fireworks, setting off all neighboring car alarms, with the God being carried over the firework remains in a strange go-forward go-left go-right go-back kind of dance.
Here’s how it’s setup… clear the road from people, lay it out, light it up. I was going to video the whole thing, but the noise was unbearable. When those second type of fireworks went off, it felt like somebody was shooting a machine gun next to my ears:
Walking into alleys I could see strange strange rituals, like… lion/dragon dancing:
How about some really strange bull-fighting? :S
The low point of the whole event was when I saw a huge crowd standing around something. I came closer, but couldn’t see a thing, so I raised my camera to take a photo of what was inside, and immediately a guy who was on the lookout pointed me out and a some guys came out aggressively demanding my camera. I was trying to tell them I didn’t know and still haven’t taken anything, but they wouldn’t listen, until an English speaking guy came and calmed them down. I could briefly see some girls in there with not much on. He later explained to me this was an illegal strip show tribute to the Gods and that they’re extremely sensitive to people taking photos. Their truck quickly disappeared and he explained that they moved to a different location – feeling uncomfortable or worried about my foreign presence. Scary and strange.
Looking for some more temple action in Taiwan? :
- Temple action in Taiwan – Longshan Taipei and Confucius Tainan
- Taiwanese culture : Temple Parade in Tainan-Taiwan
- More from the Taiwanese temple celebration madness in Tainan