Leap of faith: The temple ceremony that has people taking a plunge

Radio Taiwan International 
Date: 20 February, 2019
By: John Van Trieste

A mid-winter festival in northern Taiwan gets people jumping into the sea.

For many in Taiwan, the Lantern Festival is a time for enjoying illuminated displays and eating sweet rice balls. But one town in the north of Taiwan has a way of celebrating that really gets the adrenaline pumping.

For over 100 years, this is how it’s been done: with a running start and a wild leap into the sea. In the seaside town of Yehliu on Taiwan’s north coast, the Lantern Festival just isn’t the Lantern Festival without a plunge into the local harbor.

It’s not just people jumping: the jumpers carry a god from a local temple in a palanquin. This event is called the Yehliu Harbor Purification Festival. It’s thought to expel bad spirits and bring good fortune.

While the plunge is still a religious event, jumpers these days tend to have fun with it. This year, one group came dressed in pig costumes.    [FULL  STORY]

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