City Festival in Tainan during the Colonial Period: Focusing on the Restoration of Mazu

  • Received : 2020.10.27
  • Accepted : 2020.12.21
  • Published : 2020.12.31


Tainan was the capital of Taiwan and was the largest commercial city in Taiwan with a significant number of ports. However, after the end of the Qing era, the functions of the capital and major ports were shifted to Taipei and Kaohsiung, thus leading Tainan to lose its position. This article focuses on festivals in the city. The Qing dynasty administrative agency set up a local government that grouped multiple villages based on the religious beliefs which were closely related to the concept of the urban space as the primary temple. Mazu is an object of worship that attracted the attention of city residents from the Taisho era to the colonial era. At the Mazu temple in Tainan, which has acquired a new mystery, a Mazu festival was conducted with Mazu patrols. This festival was conducted from 1915 to 1937, when it was canceled due to the temple reorganization movement. At the festival, multiple participating groups used to compete to earn the luxury of running the pavilions. The procession ran through the north side of the city on the first day and the south side of the city on the second day. During this festival, in addition to going around the villages of the old city, a touring route was planned for the procession to pass through major landmarks related to the colonial administration and the Ginza-dori Shopping Street, which was newly created during the Taisho era. Therefore, this procession was unique because it ensured that people could explore the old and new streets that were transformed through urban remodeling during the colonial period. Moreover, passing through the licensed quarters called Shin-machi, which was relocated through urban remodeling by the administrative agency, allowed people to visualize the urban structure of colonial Taiwan. Tainan city was renewed through remodeling during the colonial period, thus leading to the formation of a new commercial area. The spirit of the people in Tainan city can be gauged based on the fact that the festival was financially and religiously supported by the merchants who promoted it. The restoration of Mazu during the colonial period indicates the restoration of urban commerce in Tainan, which had fallen from its position as the primary port city in Taiwan since the end of the Qing period. Therefore, it can be considered to represent the restoration of the city.



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