Okay, finally a bit of info on the schedule. The pilgrimage will be March 22-29th. The Queen of Heaven will leave her abode in Dajia at 11pm on March 21.
[quote]Coming International Mazu Tourism and Culture Festival
‘International Mazu Tourism and Culture Festival at Daja’ stared in 1997. Since then, this celebration has been broadened and deepened in cultural sense year after year. In addition to the original process of worship such as the patrolling the boundary with first incensing, second incensing and third incensing, incensing psalmody, the martial art and local plays of Taiwan/China exhibitions; the County’s deliberate arrangement of tourism are also very well performed from 9 February to 29 February annually. The County Government will sponsor more than 100 activities. The grand opening was held by the County Government yesterday. Magistrate Huang and Cheng, Ming-Kun, Vice President of Daja Jenn Lann Temple together announced this year’s pilgrimage and celebration. Besides, there are dramatic acrobatics and European carnival to entertain the public.
Magistrate Huang says: Going with this Year of Cow, the theme this year is ‘Thousand Galloping Cows Greeting Mazu. A series of activities will be running in the coming several days. The Festival is not only carrying on the tradition, but also developing the culture per se. The introduction of local products and tourism will be emphasized. The County Government has developed the Festival with 7 pillars. They are Religious culture, Martial art culture, Theatrical plays, Industries, Arts and Tourism. This year’s activities, except for Mazu’s patrolling the boundary, those pillars mentioned above will lead the celebration to tourism, religious pilgrim, art exhibition, academic research, and the upgraded local productions.
In combination of tradition and the creative, the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Taichung County invites some local business to have activities as bridal display, sweetmeat carnival, and 10000-People-Like BIKE. Some foreign/domestic shows are also performed. These activities from all facets enrich the content of the Festival, making Taichung’s Spring a joyful kaleidoscope.
This year, the Patrolling and incensing started from March 22 to March 29, 8 days and 7 nights in total. Starting time is 11:00 at night, on March 21 (Saturday). The incensing troop will walk across 4 cities/counties including Taichung, Changhua, Yuanlin, Chiayi in which 21 county towns and more than 80 temples are there. Total distance is 330 km.
The Cultural Affairs Bureau indicates that since Mazu culture has been promoted to a large degree recently, and the movement is getting into e generation with young spirit, encouraging young people and foreigners to take part in the Festival will make Mazu’s spirit widely known. To inherit Daja’s traditional martial virtue, this year will still arrange ‘The Martial Arts of 53 Forts at Daja & Lion Dancing.’ The performance is expected, plus following games: ‘2009 Chinese Martial Arts Summer Competition & 2009 Chinese Taipei Tryout for the 5th Asian Junior Wushu Championship’, ‘2009 Chinese Taipei 11th Chinese Martial Arts Championship, ‘ International Shiao-Lin Martial Arts Competition & 2009 National Chung-Cheng Cup Shiao-Lin Boxing Championship’, ‘2009, 11th International Chinese Martial Arts Championship sponsored by International Chinese Martial Arts Association’. The Kun-Fu heat is heated up! Boisterous festivity is definitely for sure.
As for domestic/foreign shows, except for inviting those troupes to come the Taichung County to have itinerary plays,Tottori-Ken of Japan sends its Hakoho High School of Yonago-Shi to perform Zeni Large Drum, Umbrella Dancing, Nurikabe Dancing , which are full of healthy and rhythmic Sanko tempo form a port area. There are other bands or groups to show the exotic. They are: ‘Midnight band’, ‘Howling Soul Band’, Star Kung-Fu Circus of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’, ‘Super Magic World Stage from Thailand’, Mongol Golden Sun Circus’.
As far as the theatrical play is concerned, the conglomeration of cross strait traditional plays will be presented by ‘Jiou Tian Folklore circus’, ‘Quan Zhou String-Controlled Puppet Troupe’, ‘Fong Hua Cantonese Opera’, ‘Hai Ying Orchestra (Northern pipe)’, ‘Xia Men Southern Orcherstra VS Ho Ho Art Garden’, ‘Pu Xian Drama’, ‘Xin Yi Fang Taiwanese Opera Troupe’, ‘Ming Hwa Yuan Taiwanese Opera Co.’, ‘Sheng-Wu-Chou Puppet Troupe’. The wonderful performance is expected.
The 8th Street Art Performance conducted by Cultural Foundation of YU JAN SHIN. It contains many famous show groups to entertain the public in Daja’s streets. It is an art banquet indeed. Given the fact that Taichung County is the hometown of sweetmeat, the County deliberately promotes ‘Sweetmeat Carnival’ to make the fame widely known.
In terms of Tourism, The County Government presents ‘2009 8 day/7 night Experience of the Patrolling Boundary-Bicycling Herald Tourism’. It asks you participate in the activity to experience the folk faith and arts. Another ‘Railroad to Pursue Blessing-Traveling in Luxury Train’ package is designed for outside people to know more about Taichung County, more about its culture and customs including its sightseeing views, religious culture, railroad culture, gourmandism, and historical sites.
In aspect of academic study, the ‘International research conference of Mazu’ enables people from different backgrounds to attend the Festival to understand more about the meaning of the traditional culture and the process of its celebration. Their opinions and suggestions are very much welcome to push the research into the peak. The evening before Mazu starts her patrolling, there is a large scale night show-‘Mazu’s Glory’. The Sea Goddess’s spirit and culture are focused on. There will be some famous stars and performance troupes displaying on stage. The night show before patrolling is grand. The contents are worthwhile to watch.
Magistrate Huang says: “more information can be found in our website: mazu.taichung.gov.tw/ “. The Festival is designed and conducted beautifully so as to please females/female and young/old, while the contents are going across the traditional/the modern, exotic/native. You are welcome to join International Mazu Tourism and Culture Festival at Daja of Taichung County to be our guests. You will tell the glamour of Mazu.[/quote]