01 Nov 2018

Here Comes the Rain

Meeting Mazu

Our third day in Penghu was a little bit more relaxed. We started off the morning early as usual, and made our way to a nearby and very old temple. There is a lot I’d like to learn about polytheism, and it was something that I found extremely fascinating and in stark contrast with western theology. Each temple is designed in a certain way, architecturally, to suit either a female or a male god.

After biking many kilometers through the countryside, we had noticed on several occasions that the temples all started to look similar after a while. We weren’t sure if this was because our untrained eyes were not accustomed to the brilliant designs and more minute differences between each temple, or whether it was because they actually all looked the same. While I think it’s a mix of both, what I learned from our visit to this temple was that they actually are designed differently depending on who the god(s) the temple was intending to worship. This temple honoured Mazu, the sea goddess, and I could tell right away that this temple looked different than others. I’m not sure if it’s because of how old it was (hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years), or if it was because other temples frequently honoured gods other than Mazu. By the end of this trip, the time spent close to the raging sea around us being tormented by the weather and the building typhoon made me feel particularly bonded to Mazu.

Here are some of the lights, and incense burning kettles (I don’t know the proper name for these!) sitting for display.

One of Mazu’s guards

And at the end of the temple tour, this little doggo in a rain jacket gave me a quick stare-down as we were leaving the temple. I didn’t even have time to ask for fashion advice before it ran away…