Video: Temples prepare for annual New Year’s “incense race”

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 22 January, 2020
By: John Van Trieste

Taiwanese temples are preparing for the annual New Year

On Friday, people across Taiwan will celebrate Lunar New Year’s Eve, the biggest holiday of the year. But while some will spend the evening relaxing and feasting, others will be kicking off the New Year with a shot or two of adrenaline.

Tradition holds that good fortune awaits those who offer the year’s first stick of incense at a temple. That’s why, at the stroke of midnight on the first day of each lunar year, some Taiwanese temples are crammed full of people. They want that good fortune, and they are willing to race for it. This is the reason for a special and rather dangerous New Year’s custom: the annual incense dash.

At certain well-known temples, contestants line up, ready to run with a lit stick of incense and do whatever it takes to reach the main incense burner first. At exactly midnight, the temples fling open their doors, and the race is on.    [FULL  STORY]

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