As part of the "2021 Northern Taiwan Mazu Cultural Festival," twenty-five statues of Mazu (媽祖) made their way to a renowned temple, Cheng An Temple (成安宮), in New Taipei City on Jan. 8 on a train pulled by the steam locomotive CK124.
The festival was held to honor Mazu, one of Taiwan's most popular religious icons known also as the Queen of Heaven. The Cheng An Temple hosted the 2021 celebration, which was delayed until now due to the pandemic, and organizers decided to make the area's popular tourism train line a centerpiece of the festivities.
Starting from the Ruifang station, the steam locomotive led a train transporting the 25 statues drawn from different temples in northern Taiwan along the Pingxi line to bless the towns and residents in the area.
The train made three-minute stops at each station on the line before arriving at the Shifen station, where the statues were welcomed and placed in the Cheng An Temple. The statues will be on display there until Jan. 16, giving visitors the chance to pray for blessings from the goddess.
To mark the arrival of the Mazu statues, the temple also commissioned a 20-foot tall sky lantern from local deity painter Liao Hsiang-ling (廖湘靈) and renowned sky lantern master Hu Min-shu (胡民樹), who also serves as the chairman of the temple.