Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Parade of the Goddess Mazhu -- 妈祖游神

The Greatest Event of the Year

The greatest event of the year in Sungai Rengit is the parade of the Goddess Mazhu in celebration of Her birthday. This happens every 3 years and almost every villagers participate. Those are not staying in the town or those working else where, young or old, everyone comes back to join the fun.

The temple of Goddess Mazhu is the richest temple in the town. The temple even build its own 3 storey building. The temple itself is small and never got expanded over the year though. The Goddess is said to be a good carer to Her believers, especially to the fishermen. From time to time, there are tourist buses coming here just to bring the believers to pay respect to the Goddess.

Inviting the Goddess to control the 'holy stick' (hokkien: ki2 ki1-起枝) before the starting of the parade. The holy stick would sit in one of the sedans.

Nowadays, people or teams from outside of the town are also invited to join the parade, such as this dragon or lion dance team.
When i was a teenager, i thought joining activities of the temple is really superstitious - 迷信 and old fashioned - 老土 (i think this is a phase of growing up. :) Now, i like it to see the younger generation to join the events hold by the temple, i see it as the passing down of the culture. - 薪火相传

In the team of the lady flower basket carriers, most of them are the young local girls. But if you take a closer look, there are even adult men who dressed like a girl to join the team, as a repay of the kindness to the Goddess.-酬神

The believers joined the parade and crowded the road - 万人空巷. They walked with the parade team for 5km to reach the other temple by the sea at Sungai Buntu -三湾. The hardcore one, walked there and walked back. But most people would come back by bus or van or car.
My husband was the representative of my family, he walked 5km with the parade!

Part of the parade.

The sedan with the Goddess sitted inside was 'not in control' and moving all around in the street. My uncle who used to join as the sedan carrier said, during his year, they had to 'push' and 'pull' the sedan way much more than now. The carriers always ended up with muscle pain the next day.
Some of the carriers 'disappeared' when there were not many audiences and only reappeared again when it was near to the temple.

The parade arrived at the destination temple -观音庙 which is 5km away, by the sea.

The parade returned to the temple and whether you walked 5km or not, everyone can have the free lunch provided by the temple.

1 comment:

Noodles said...

Hi there, i really love your blog!! thanks for sharing all the awesome posts.. (: