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Lugang’s Water Lantern Festival

放水燈祭水靈 福鹿溪召請孤魂野鬼

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

The Chungyuan Festival — also known as the Ghost Festival — takes place on the fifteenth day of the seventh lunar month. During last Tuesday’s Chungyuan Festival, the Dicangwang Temple in Changhua County’s Lugang Township held a three-day Buddhist Water Lantern Releasing Festival to pray for peace and atone for the sins of the dead.


The Water Lantern Releasing Festival is an important religious ceremony in Lugang’s festival calendar that has been passed down through the centuries. Last Tuesday afternoon Buddhist monks from the temple carried the lanterns through the streets to the mouth of Fulu River where the lanterns were lit up to summon the spirits. The temple’s head priest led the lantern procession, which passed through a series of streets including Jhongshan Road, Chenggong Road, Caiyuan Road, Yanhai Road and Longjhou Road before stopping at Fulu River estuary.


According to tradition, the priest chanted Buddhist sutras with community representatives to witness offerings made to the spirits. Lotus flower-shaped water lanterns were then released onto the water to summon spirits from the underworld to come to the temple to feast on food offerings, listen to scriptures and repent their sins.


As the sky faded to black, the lanterns, with their quivering tongues of flame, were carried out to sea by the river current. The array of brightly-illuminated lanterns lit up Fulu River before emitting a final dying glow and then vanished completely on the river’s surface, bringing the ceremony to a close.


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