Mayor Hau Lung-bin, Speaker Wu Bi-chu, Legislator Ting Shou-chung, and a number of city councilors attended the lantern-lighting ceremony at Guandu Temple in the afternoon of February 2.
The mayor arrived at the temple at 2 PM and received a warm welcome from temple staff, board members, and devotees. Accompanied by the temple’s president Huang Cheng-hsiung, he offered his prayer at the main shrine to the Goddess Matsu and attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, officially kicking-off this year’s lantern exhibition at the temple.
Recalling his visits to the temple’s Lantern Festival exhibitions when he was a student, Hau praised the temple for continuing such a long tradition. He also lauded the detailed display, noting how these lanterns not only commemorate traditional customs, but are also of educational value for onlookers.
Citing one of the lanterns titled “Love the North and South Poles of Earth,” the mayor emphasized that through spotlighting the indigenous animals of these regions, the temple helps to raise public awareness on issues such as global warming and conservation.
According to Huang, in the past temple display used to feature themes related with the well-known 24 stories of Filial Piety. However, with the changing times, theme selection became more focused on myths and folk stories to attract young visitors who bring their parents. In recent years, social issues – such as environment protection – have also appeared on the list of lantern themes.