To celebrate the birthday of Baosheng Dadi and spotlight longtime traditions, Taipei Baoan Temple is working together with city hall to organize the 2012 Folk Arts Festival (formerly called the Baosheng Cultural Festival).
A much-anticipated event among residents and tourists, the folk arts fiesta will last until mid-June. The festival will feature religious rituals, folklore expertise, tours of historic sites, craft workshops, art contests, health care, and academic seminars.
Family Surnames Folk Opera Series:In the good old days, major families in the neighborhood would take turns sponsoring outdoor plays to honor the birthday of gods and deities. This practice is known as “Family Surnames Folk Operas”. Baoan Temple is one of the few temples in Taiwan which has the most success in preserving this wonderful tradition. By hosting the plays, the organizers help to promote traditional arts such as Taiwanese opera, Bei Guan, and glove puppetry.
Deities’ Parade: One of the must-see features of the Folk Arts Festival. On the day before Baosheng Dadi’s birthday (March 14 on the Chinese Lunar Calendar), the temple organizes a large procession to commemorate the important day. Amidst firecrackers and fanfare, the sedan carrying the statue of the deity “tours” the neighborhood to spread its blessings.
Fire Lion Firecrackers: Lion dance is an integral part of religious celebrations in Chinese culture. On the other hand, Baoan Temple’s “Fire Lion” is a unique ritual by itself. Instead of having dancers donning the lion costume, the “Fire Lion” is armed with large amount of firecrackers; the purpose of the pyrotechnic extravaganza is to banish evil spirits while bringing the festivities to a climax.
Baosheng Dadi’s Birthday Rituals: The birthday of the temple’s patron deity is commemorated with official rituals presided over by both temple and government officials. The event also features performances by the temple’s Chinese orchestra and choir. The students of Dalong Primary School will also perform Yi dance during the ceremony.
Fire-walking: When the gods cross the path of burning coal, they increase in their divine power; when worshippers cross the same path, they cleanse themselves of impurities and bad luck. Fire-walking is part of the traditional rituals of Baoan Temple. As the path of burning coal coated with a layer of salt challenges the courage of individuals, the bystanders collect the remnant charcoals which, according to legend, make individuals more resistant to disease and make their body stronger when mixed with water.
Historical Site Guide Tours: To allow visitors to learn more about the historical structure, knowledgeable guides will provide an in-depth tour of the Baoan Temple. From the temple’s origins to building architecture, tour participants will have a chance to explore the finer details of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards recipient.
For more information, please visit the event’s official Chinese website at: http://www.baoan.org.tw/HTML/Yearact/yearact.html