Sunday, July 15, 2012

Donggang's boat-burning ritual

Last month I visited Donglong Temple (東隆宮) in Donggang (東港), Pingtung County. For many tourists, Donggang is best known as the gateway to Little Liuqiu, but every three years it hosts a religious event of national prominence: The ritual burning of a purpose-built wooden ship at the end of a week of rites and festivities. The 2012 edition begins on Sunday, October 14 and reaches a climax a week later when the vessel - its sails unfurled, its anchor raised, its hull filled with effigies - is set ablaze.

I took a look at the ship, which is 13.82m long and which was completed several months ago, but because it's stored in a rather confined warehouse, getting a photo of the whole thing was near impossible. The pictures here show (top) a dragon painted on the side and the vessel's rudder (lower left).

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