The Birthday of Matsu is a holiday observed in Taiwan on the 23rd day of the 3rd month of the lunar calendar. This holiday pays tribute to Matsu, or Mazu, who is the deified form of Lin Moniang—a Fujianese shamaness believed to have lived from 960 to 987.
After her death, she was deified as the tutelary deity of fishermen, sailors, and seafarers. All across the coastal regions of China, people began to worship her as the Queen of Heaven. The religion that worships her, Mazuism, is now popular in Taiwan because many early Fujianese immigrants brought the religion with them when they migrated to Taiwan.
The History of the Birthday of Matsu in Taiwan
Born as Lin Moniang in 960, she began to read at the age of 8 years old and immediately began to study Buddhist and Taoist religious texts. According to legend, she became a Buddhist at the age of 10 and a student of magic at the age of 12. At 28 years old, it is said that she achieved Nirvana and became a goddess.
Over the course of her life, it’s believed that she performed many miracles, and she has been honored with titles such as the Holy Mother and the Holy Princess. In 1694, a Matsu temple was erected in her honor at the Chaotien Temple in Peikang. It is now the oldest and richest Matsu temple.
Observing the Birthday of Matsu in Taiwan
At the Chaotien Temple in Peikang, some of the biggest events of this holiday occur. Around this temple is a carnival-like atmosphere, and people who go there will find cotton candy stalls, vendors selling watermelons, and slingshot competitions set up along the road to the temple. There are also parades of the goddess through the village, and people will offer sacrifices of food to the goddess at improvised shrines and altars.