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Matsu's Hometown in Putian

 2013-12-11    Ada    Activities    Putian    1069  

We may heard the name Matsu from many Taiwan soap operas. Matsu is the Chinese goddess of the sea who is said to protect fishermen and sailors. About her legend, residents near the sea are faithful. There are many Mazu Temple for people to worship, but her hometown is in Putian.

According to legend, Lin Moniang was born as the seventh daughter of Lin Yuan on Meizhou Island, Fujian. She did not cry when she was born, thus she was given the name with the meaning "Silent Girl." Matsu is usually depicted together with two guardian generals known as "Thousand Miles Eye" and "With-the-Wind Ear". Though their iconography can vary, both are usually represented as demons; "Thousand Miles Eye" is often red with two horns, while "With-the-Wind Ear" is green with one horn. They are said to have been two demons whom Matsu conquered. The both of them were in love with her, but she said she would marry the one who defeated her.

Using her martial arts skills, Matsu defeated them both and they became her friends. To justify Matsu's presence in Buddhist temples, legends were circulated claiming that Matsu's parents prayed to Guan Yin for a son, but Guanyin answered their prayers with the birth of yet another daughter. It was then believed that Matsu was a reincarnation of Guanyin on earth, and it is Guanyin she is said to have been especially devoted to as a child.[8] As a result, Matsu is recognized and respected in both the Taoist and Buddhist pantheons of deities, while some Buddhists believe Matsu to be one of Guanyin's many manifestations. After her death, she was remembered as a young lady in a red dress, who would forever roam over the seas.

The worship of Matsu began in the Song Dynasty. Matsu is widely worshiped in the southeastern coastal regions of China, especially in Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan. She is also an important deity in Taiwan.

Matsu is also worshiped in East and Southeast Asia. As Matsu is the most respected god on Meizhou Island, there are several festivals on the island to celebrate the birthday of this Goddess of Peace on the sea, as well as the day of her ascension. Celebrations are held on the twenty-third day of third lunar month and ninth day of the ninth lunar month respectively and it is the best time to learn more about the Matsu culture of the city. Meizhou Island, most famous for being the legendary birthplace of the goddess Matsu, is located closely offshore of Putian.

Today, this beautiful island has become a national tourist zone with several spots on the island, including the Matsu Temple, the Ewei Mountain and the huge Matsu Stone Carving. Blessed with a long history, Guanghua Temple is a famous temple with tranquil environment.

Other beautiful spots around like Jiuli Lake, 31 kilometers from the county town of Xianyou, also worth a visit. It is famous for its natural lakes, caves, pools and stones. The Jiuji Waterfalls are the most popular sight around Jiuli Lake. In addition, there are also some stone inscriptions, Taoist buildings and some other historical sites.

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