Mazu Legend

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On the birthday of Mazu's and the day of her flying to the sky, and the palace of queen of heaven in Nansha and all Mazu temples (palace) would hold a grand fiesta.


The fiesta is host by a main officiant, certain number of sub-officiants, an officiate, a thurifer and a congratulatory message reader. Other person include deacons like bell man, drum man, music man and assistance man. The fiesta starts with the sound of cannon firing, bell ringing and music playing, and the main officiant and sub- officiant would sit in place and pious shakily, then perform the three kowtows and nine prostrations. After that, what follows is "first contribution etiquette", "second contribution etiquette" and "final contribution etiquette". . . At last, it comes to the part of "burn congratulatory message and burn precious silks". The fiesta will be over under fragrant smoke as well as the blasting of bell and drum everywhere along with cannon firing. 

The whole process of the festival is natural, graceful and solemn. Tens of thousands of people, which contains the pilgrimage team from all Mazu temples (palace) and local Mazu believers, would come around Meizhou Island to pious shakily, worship and pray in order. What a wonderful sight. 


When Mazu goes on for a "travel" (or "patrol"), there would be escorts like imperial chariot and Honor guard called “Luanjia” and “Lubu”. “Luanjia” is the chariot where Mazu sits on during "travel". The“Lubu” is the honor guard. 

Honor guard include: leading rod, large gongs, long tube brass trumpet, bronze mirror, red light and flags, the street board of "heaven goddess”, "silence" and " avoidance", as well as instrument like Jade axes, broadsword, long lance, demon Demolish board and monster blade; attendants road god, eight class, body-guard like dressed up by people; the team of playing Sheng, Drum, ten sounds and eight tunes, along with the team of caravan and makeup cabinet; the last ones are the chariot supporting Mazu like Xiang Ting, Hou fan and cool fan. 

There are two sayings about “Lubu”. One says that "Lu" refers to a large shield. During "Travel", and the guard would take the large shield as a leading weapon in front, then other items of the honor guard will be recorded into a book called “Bu” in Chinese, which is why it is called “Lubu”. The other saying is that, during "travel", the guard would open the way for Mazu by spilling “Lu” water on the road which won't dry immediately and can also remove the dust. The guard clearly recorded it in the “Bu” and open the way with “Lu”, so it is called "Lubu". 

Ship Model

Because ancient junk boat sailed on the sea mainly relying on wind, so when it encountered winds and waves, there would be danger for lives and caigos, so fishermen and sailing businessmen going out to sea often pray for the blessing of sea goddess Mazu. Once the danger is defused, Mazu will take the credit. People would make a small ship by taking the protected ship as a prototype, and consecrated it in Mazu temple, wishing that Mazu could continue to bless them in the future. 

The palace of the queen of heaven in Changdao County, Shandong Province is built by the people from Fujian Province in the song Dynasty, which originally contained more than 350 ship models, including the "Weiyuan" ship model given away by Deng Shi-chang during First Sino-Japanese War. It's a pity that these were destroyed in the "cultural revolution". The palace of the queen of heaven has been transformed as maritime museum in Changdao County. The museum display dozens of ship model, including northeast China ship, eastern sea ship, large junk, motor sailer, etc. 

In the middle door of main hall for the Bai Tang palace of the queen of heaven in Hong Kong, a wood ship hung there. For the front area of Mazu tablet, the left and right sides of table, as well as the corner of the wall in Main hall, each has a Chinese ship model, about 2 meters long. Ships are equipped with old cannons and Mazu portraits. 

The model in Macao Mazu cabinet is made by simulating a Fujian cargo ship which encountered storm and drifted to Macau during the Wanli period. At the side of the hall, there is a stone ship carved by a huge stone, which is quite similar as the ancient ship in the Song Dynasty which was unearthed in Houzhu port, Quanzhou. 

Shenxiao palace in Zhongkun, Xiamen, which separated some part of its Mazu spirit to the Shunji palace in Hecuo, was built in the song Dynasty and now located in the nursery in Zhongkun. It was rebuilt for several times in history, and the last reconstruction is in 1993. When you see Shenxiao palace from a high place, it would be surrounded by green trees, with many flowers blooming there. The moment you go into Shenxiao palace, it’s just like that you come into a green world and a flower sea, with all kinds of trees and flowers well-proportioned, making the person all relaxed and happy. 

Sea fiesta

On the birthday of Mazu's and the day of her flying to the sky, the Sea fiesta in palace of the concubine of heaven in Hanjiang XiaXu port is mainly host by the local people and businessmen: in the main hall of the Palace, a drawing of Mazu Saint Deeds will be hung there. The side hall will be hung with an astronomical drawing. The outside and inside areas of the Palace will all be decorated with lanterns and streamers. A large conch shell being filled with corn as well as Banquet table and flowers would be put in front of the altar, just making it full of lights and smoke. At the high tide of afternoon, good meal will be served on the table, with taking complete pig and complete sheep as the offerings. These offers will be made to Mazu, her parents and her older siblings, which is called "sea fiesta. It is known as a Putian unique festival.