By: Jermyn Chow
TAIPEI: The bearded deity Guan Yu, flanked by other deities who represent
righteousness, brotherhood and victory in war, presides over worshippers who kneel before his altar at the Xingtian Temple.
But devotees at the prayer grounds in the heart of Taipei’s Zhongshan district do not pay respects to the Taoist God of War in the traditional way, which is by lighting joss sticks or burning paper offerings.
Instead, they clasp their hands and bow their heads to pray.
Only temple helpers are allowed to light environmentally-friendly joss sticks that emit less smoke for a daily blessing ritual.
“People come here to pray for better lives and good health… it would be counterproductive for them to be breathing in smoke and ash that can harm their bodies,” said temple elder Wu Yueh-yu, who spearheaded the move to stop devotees from lighting joss sticks in 2014. [FULL STORY]