Sigang Incense Offering Ceremonies by Cingan Temple in Sigang District
Sigang Incense Offering Ceremonies, entitled Taiwan’s Foremost Incense Offering, is organised by Cingan Temple, which serves Holy Mother, Mazu. The King Boat Festival is held by Cingan Temple every three years, organised during the third and fourth lunar months each Year of the Ox, the Dragon, the Sheep, and the Dog. During the festival, Sigang District is like a city that never sleeps and is always jam-packed with people. The scale of the festival demonstrates the importance of the King Boat Festival in folk religion. The triennial King Boat Festival is, in effect, a sacrificial rite of the Cingan Temple. The rites include incense offering, tour of inspection, sacrificial rites for sending off epidemic gods, Wangye Jhen Festival, Luermen Returning to Ancestral Temple ceremony, sending off Mazu, and burning the King Boat. Burning the King Boat on the last day of the festival is the climax of the rites. Since 2009, Sigang Incense Offering Ceremonies have been recognised as the national folk event by the Council for Cultural Affairs for three reasons. The first reason is the preservation and promotion of traditions, customs, and the reflection of such rites on people’s life and ideology; the second reason is the important popular religious rituals, and demonstration of Taiwanese artistry, craftsmanship, and folk art performance. The last reason is for the development and change in folk art, which is unique to the local culture and also brings about influence on people’s life. These three reasons make Sigang Incense Offering Ceremonies a representative national folk event and Cingan Temple in Sigang District the entity to preserve the ceremonies.