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Firecracker pandemonium

炮聲喧天

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

The Dajia Matsu pilgrimage probably cuts a year or two off your life expectancy. It is at once fire and brimstone and an absolutely wonderful experience. You’ll need earplugs and a face mask. Bring a camera.

大甲媽祖的遶境進香活動大概足以使人折壽一兩年。對進香客而言,這趟朝聖之旅既是無比的美妙,也是無盡的折磨。要參加遶境,耳塞、口罩都是必備品。當然還要有相機。

The annual pilgrimage starts at midnight, usually on a Friday, when the palanquin carrying the Matsu statue leaves Daija serenaded by tonnes of firecrackers. The cacophony doesn’t let up until she returns nine days later.

一年一度的大甲媽祖遶境通常於星期五的午夜開始。媽祖神像在轟然的鞭炮聲中自大甲起駕,展開為期九天的遶境,活動一路伴隨著炮聲和喧囂,直到媽祖返回大甲。

The exploding firecrackers, in heaps piled a half meter high or rolled out in strings snaking down the road, will make your ears bleed. Your nose and throat hurt from the clouds of saltpeter fumes and the PM2.5 particulate matter that enter your system through every pore of your body.

大量爆炸的鞭炮,或堆成半公尺高的小山,或沿路鋪開排成長長的火蛇,發出震耳欲聾的聲響,揚起的煙雲充斥著硝酸鉀和細懸浮微粒,滲透進你身體的每一個毛孔,讓你的鼻子和喉嚨都發疼。

On the road, everyone is in high spirits and happy to spend 10 minutes in friendly conversation with you. Temples along the route provide water and snacks along the way. If you want some action and decide to stay close to Matsu, sharpen your elbows, because that is where the world and his wife wants to be.

遶境旅途中,人人神采奕奕,樂於與人交談,一談就是十分鐘。不少路途間所經過的寺廟都為進香客提供飲水和點心。如果你喜歡刺激,想要待在媽祖身邊,你可要具備用手肘「卡位」的功夫,因為所有的人都和你一樣想要接近媽祖。

Run up ahead of Matsu and you can join the long line of devotees that prostrate themselves on the road so Matsu and her palanquin can pass over them, which is considered auspicious. If you do, be sure to take your headwear off. I forgot, and in two seconds, someone had tapped me on the head and said in a rather sharp tone of voice, “Take your hat off and show some respect!”

你也可以跑到媽祖鑾轎前面,加入一長列跪伏在地的信眾,一起「稜轎腳」,讓鑾轎從頭上經過,以祈求好運。不過,如果你要「稜轎腳」,記得一定要取下頭上的帽子。我忘了脫帽,結果立即有人戳了我的頭,並用頗為尖銳的聲音說:「把帽子脫掉,放尊重點!」

Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2017/04/08/2003668266

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