Kaohsiung Zuoying Wannian Folklore
Fireworks, parades, tiger floats made of bamboo and
paper, the Kaohsiung Zuoying Wannian Folklore Festival
is a joint celebration of temples near the scenic
Lotus Lake. In 2012, more than a million and a half
people visited during the nine day festival. This
is one of the places where Koxinga set up camp when
he came to Taiwan in the 17th century.
So why did Koxinga set up camp here? There was food,
there was a source of water and the geography made
it difficult to invade. The landscape was good, the
water was good and the fengshui was good. Good fengshui
brings temples. Temples are spiritual centers which
Immigrants from different parts of China gathered
here. They brought with them the different gods they
worshipped and then set up temples near the lake.
At the Wannian festival, popular treats include sweets
that commemorate Baosheng Emperor the medicine god
and the fiery tiger on which he rides. And then there
is also this, an edible Chinese chess set.
Grandmother had five children. The youngest of which
loved to play chess. But Grandmother would get angry
at every meal time because she would have to go looking
for him. When she found him, she would say, “you may
as well have your chess pieces for dinner.” My father-in-law
heard this and thought, “why not?”
In addition to eating these mung bean cakes, you can
also make them here as well.
Nearby there is a Buddhist memorial park to visit,
and this is what my friend Axel seemed to appreciate
most out of the whole trip.
I noticed that you’re Christian, but you seemed quite
interested in what was at Fo Guang Shan.
Well honestly, quite. I mean it was kind of moving.
I’ve never seen such a huge (Buddhist) museum. Now
I’m from France and we have Le Louvre, but it’s not
quite the same. This is both artful, colorful and
direct. I had a feeling then that just by walking
inside the museum and not even the monastery, I could
feel that everything was in unison, if you see what
I mean. Everything seemed whole. That was a really,
really pleasant feeling. And the whole idea of unison
and bringing people together in peace is really something
everybody should learn.