Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Taiwan - Donggang King Boat Ceremony
Donggang King Boat Ceremony, Pingtung.
Sent by 陳姿蓉, a postcrosser from Taiwan.
"The burning of the King Boat is one of the folk rituals of the seafaring people in southwestern Taiwan. The original purpose of this ritual was to send the Plague God of out to the sea, and diseases along with him; today it is an activity held to pray for peace and good fortune. The festival is held once every three years, around the ninth lunar month, at Donglong Temple in Donggang. The boats are burned in the middle of the fourth month at Qing-an Temple in Xigang, Tainan County. Generally, the Donggang event is bigger. These celebrations include large-scale temple activities, which climax with the burning of the plague god boat on the last day.
The Donggang boat-burning celebrations run for eight days and seven nights. According to custom, before the boat is set fire by devotees and other participants prepare goods for the symbolic trip. Then a big fire is made (this is to force any bad spirits and the Plague God to go aboard), and the boat is burned while the people pray for peace."(Source)