Yanshuei Wu Temple
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Yanshuei Wu Temple (Yanshui Martial Temple) is dedicated to Guan Yu, the Taoist God of War and Martial Arts, who is also referred to as Guan Gong or Guandi (Lord Guan). Guan Yu was an actual historical figure who was born around the year 160 a.d. in the waning years of the Han Dynasty. He gained fame as a great warrior during the upheavals that led to the end of the dynasty and the establishment of the Three Kingdoms period. After his death in the year 220, he was deified and eventually rose to become one of the most widely worshipped gods in the Chinese pantheon.
The original Yanshuei Wu Temple was built of wood during the mid-1600s. Over the years, it has been renovated and expanded multiple times. Part of the reason for the growth in popularity of this temple is its connection to the Beehive Fireworks Festival.
The Festival got its start in 1885. At the time, Yanshui was in the grip of one of a series of recurring epidemics (possibly hantavirus, which is carried by rats and other rodents) that had been wreaking havoc in the city over a twenty-five-year period. The panicking populace turned to the Martial God for answers, since it was his role to wage war on spiritual or supernatural ‘attacks’ such as plague and pestilence.
The god decreed that he should be carried in procession through every street in the town on his royal palanquin for three successive days while fireworks were set off everywhere around him to do battle with the pestilence. After these three days, the epidemic was almost immediately brought under control, and no more lives were lost.
Some see a miracle in this; others believe it was the result of the noise and the sulfur and other elements in the gunpowder that drove the out the rats—and the plague along with them. Whatever the cause, it was a true deliverance for the city, and since then, the Beehive Rocket Festival has been celebrated in Yanshui every year during the Lantern Festival. As the festival has grown in size and gained global recognition as one of the world’s major folk festivals, Yanshui Wu temple has prospered as well.
Wu Temple has a number of unique architectural and decorative elements that make it well worth a visit. Visitors can listen to the audio file at the link below or scan the QR code to learn more details about this very special temple!
No. 87, Wumiao Rd., Yanshui Dist., Tainan City 73743, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
+886 6 6521264