Competing Festivals: The Joint Deity-Welcoming Festival
This page discusses the Joint Deity-Welcoming Festival as a response to the expanded Jilong Shrine Festival
Evan N. Dawley, Becoming Taiwanese
Evan N. Dawley
The following year, in 1935, the Joint Deity-Welcoming Festival took place on the day after the now two-day Jilong Shrine Festival. Preparations began weeks before the event, with the organizers enlisting the help of merchant associations to fund the festival and select dramatic and musical troupes to enliven the proceedings. Reports in the Taiwan nichinichi shinpō emphasized two main features: the decision by public security officials to arrest all beggars and hold them away from the festivities for the duration, and the route of the raojing parade. The prohibition on begging certainly constituted an invasion of sacred terrain, but the parade suggested that Taiwanese did not surrender their territory.
This year, the three deities began their perambulations in Takasago Park, moved north and east to visit all three temples, tracing a route that encompassed the core of Jilong's historic settlement in the process. After visiting the Dianji Temple last, the parade then continued north across the canal, into the heart of the Japanese neighborhood, passing beneath the Jilong Shrine and in front of major Japanese Buddhist temples, as well as the buildings housing the municipal government (opened in 1932) and the military police (kenpeitai), before returning to the Taiwanese part of town and ending at the Qing'an Temple. Photographic evidence suggests that this year was not the first time that one or more of these deities had visited the predominantly Japanese part of town, but it was the first year in which the main newspaper considered the route to be newsworthy. The timing magnified the significance of the act: right after the second iteration of an expanded shrine festival, these three deities demarcated areas that impinged upon Japanese sacred spaces as lying within the boundaries of their territorial cults.