Taipei City God Festival

A lion dance takes place on the streets in celebration of a god’s birthday.

Like so much of Taiwan’s traditional temple culture, the Taipei City God traces its origins to Fujian in China. In the early nineteenth century the image of the Xia Hai City God was brought across the Taiwan Strait to Taipei, first making its home in present day Wanhua district before moving in the 1850’s to its current home at the Xia Hai Temple in Dadaocheng. The temple, completed in 1859, is small and nestled in between a bank and public market on Dihua St. Every lunar May 13th, the City God’s birthday is celebrated with a festival that takes place over a week or so, and features prayers and worship, parades, firecrackers and all the typical colour and chaos that a Chinese religious festival brings.

This year’s festival seemed a little quieter than previous ones I’ve seen. Perhaps due to the weather – it took place during a period when Taipei was receiving heavier than usual rain, or perhaps because the last one I photographed happened to fall on a weekend whereas this year it was on a Tuesday. Whatever the reason, here is a selection of photographs from the few days that I was down there shooting.

Taipei City God Festival

Taipei City God Festival

Taipei City God Festival

Taipei City God Festival

Taipei City God Festival