Matsu Temple is located in Tainan, Taiwan. Take a train or bus to Tainan. From the railway, head down Jhongshan road. When it intersects with Minzu Road, turn right. Signs will direct you towards the temple. As you approach, it’s location will be apparent because of the lively atmosphere around the temple.
Matsu Temple: A Golden Wonderland
This temple was created to celebrate the folk diety, Matsu. At the center of the altar sit’s a golden Matsu statue that is more than three hundred years old. The rooms around the temple all seem to have a happy golden hue. The shrine in the back of the temple used to be King Ning Jin’s room. This king had ruled long ago in Tainan when Koxinga’s grandson ruled Taiwan. When the grandson surrendered to the Manchus in 1683, the King commited suicide to defend his honor. Before he died, he told his five concubines to go to a nunnery. The concubines chose not to flee to a nunnery but to commit suicide in order to keep their honor as well. One of the beams within this great temple is the beam upon which all five concubines were hanged from. My friend and I spent ten to fifteen minutes debating over which one it could be, maybe you will have better luck.
Who is Matsu?
Matsu is the folk diety in Taiwan that people go to when they seek protection when traveling on air or sea. Originally, the story of Matsu had started with a young girl called Lin Mo who was born on an island by Taiwan. Lin Mo had grown up in a fisherman’s family and would often try to guide ships in during sea storms. Wearing a red dress, she would stand upon the rocks to urge them away from peril. After her death, sightings of Lin Mo started to occur, patiently leading ships in to harbor. From this story, the legend of the folk diety Matsu arose.
The Best of the Best
Taiwan has the highest number of temples per capita of anywhere in the world. As Taiwan’s most popular folk diety, Matsu has over five hundred temples dedicated in her honor from around the island. The temple in Tainan is one of the best Matsu’s temples on the island and well worth a visit. On the twenty third day of the third lunar month, people around the island hold festivities to celebrate Matsu’s birthday. If you are in Tainan around this time, make sure to check out the festivities occurring at the Matsu Temple in Tainan.
Still interested? Check out other things to do in Taiwan.
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