Luermen Matsu Temple

Luermen Matsu Temple

crowds decending on the expansive temple during Chinese New Year festivities

Luermen Matsu Temple (Lùěrmén Tiānhòu Gōng 鹿耳門天后宮)

The Matsu Temple at Luermen supposedly marks the spot where Zheng Chenggong (Koxinga) made his landing to attack the Dutch settlements at Fort Zeelandia and Fort Provintia. According to legend, the Goddess Matsu aided Zheng in his landing at Luermen. The Dutch had sunk obstacles along the shore of Luermen to prevent any enemies from landing, but when Zheng arrived the waters magically rose several feet and he avoided any damage to his ships. Despite suggestions that the time of year of his arrival boasts very high tides, this legend persists and people continue to pay homage to Matsu on the spot of this historic landing.

temple interior

temple interior packed with offerings

Luermen (Lùěrmén 鹿耳門, literally “deer ear gate”),  was a principal gateway to Taiwan for much of its early settlement. By the end of the Dutch period, silting had choked up the harbors at Anping and Chikan leading to Luermen’s rise as the gateway port.

temple doorway

crowded temple doorway

Matsu is known as the Goddess of the Sea and as the Heavenly Empress. Matsu is one of the principal deities worshipped in Taiwan and Fujian, China.  This goddess originated in Fujian province in the form of a human girl named Lin Moniang who lived there in the Northern Song Dynasty. The girl was adept at swimming and saved many fishermen and sailors from drowning. As a goddess, she guides sailors and helped all those who immigrated from Fujian to Taiwan. For obvious reasons, Matsu temples are everywhere in Taiwan. Many people involve themselves in pilgrimages to various important Matsu temples, even heading in a journey from northern Taiwan to Luermen and back to Fujian to retrace the steps of their ancestors journey.

Luermen’s Matsu Temple is newer and grander than Tainan’s Grand Matsu Temple. It came into its present form in the mid-1970s and makes the inner-city temple feel downright tiny in comparison. This temple is often confused with and often competes with the Orthodox Luermen Matsu Temple (Shèngmǔ Miào 聖母廟) which is a little to the north and is even larger.

The goddess statue in the temple is reportedly 800 years old and was brought to Taiwan by Zheng Chenggong himself.

This temple is very popular during New Years festivities and on Mazu’s birthday which falls on the 23rd day of the 3rd month in the lunar calendar. In 2010, that date will be May 6th.

Hours: 5:00am to 9:00pm

Phone: (06) 2840098, or (06) 2841386-7

Location: No.236, Lane 1, Section 3, Hsientsao Street, Annan District, Tainan City

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