The Ninth Straits Forum – Chen Jinggu Cultural Festival Held in Fujian’s Ningde, China
GUTIAN, China–16 Jun–Xinhua-AsiaNet/InfoQuest
A grand festival celebrating the sea goddess Chen Jinggu was held on June 13 in Gutian County, Southeast China’s Fujian Province, attracting 300 followers and scholars from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China.
The festival was part of the Ninth Strait Forum, which features an array of activities on youth exchanges and trade cooperation. Singing and dancing by artists from both Mainland China and Taiwan received continuous applause.
Chen Jinggu is a Fujian goddess who occupies a position as important as the sea goddess, Mazu, in the province. Legend has it that Chen Jinggu was a female shaman who had been bestowed with supernatural powers. During a severe drought in Fujian, she performed magic rituals to save lives, despite being pregnant, which led to her demise due to sheer fatigue. She has been worshiped as a guardian of pregnant women and children ever since.
After thousands of years of inheritance, the folklore belief of Chen Jinggu, which originated from Linshui Palace Temple in Gutian, has become an important part of local culture and extended great influence on Chinese communities around the world.
Statistics show that there are around 4,000 branches of Linshui Palace Temple all over the world, and the number of believers has reached 100 million, of whom 15 million are from Taiwan. In 2008, Chen Jinggu’s folklore belief was listed as one of the national intangible cultural heritages.
Gutian County endeavors to develop Linshui Palace’s core scenic areas into a top-class tourist attraction by investing in the construction of museum, praying square roads and other infrastructure. It is planned that Linshui Palace temple will grow into the “Cross-strait Communication Base” and “Chen Jinggu Religious Culture Center” after several years of efforts.
Source: The Ninth Straits Forum – Chen Jinggu Cultural Festival