Source: China Daily
With over 5,000 Mazu temples dotted around the world and 200 million believers, the Mazu belief has spread to more than 20 countries and regions across the globe, making Mazu a symbol of cultural identity for all Chinese worldwide.
The legend of Mazu is about a girl named Lin Mo who was born into an official family from Meizhou Island, a small piece of land in the Taiwan Straits off the coast of southeast China. When Lin was very young, her extremely good memory and learning comprehension talent was revealed. She was meek and warm-hearted and was always willing to help people in need. Thanks to her vast knowledge of Chinese medicine, she was able to cure the sick and teach people how to prevent illness and injury.
Growing up in a coastal area, Lin became familiar with astronomic and meteorological knowledge and was able to predict the weather, helping fishermen avoid sea disasters and salvage shipwrecks.
After her death at the age of 28 on a mountaintop, she became a goddess. Legend has it that as a colored cloud rose from the mountain and wonderful music was heard in the sky, Lin was carried into heaven in a golden pillar of light.
From then on, Mazu’s figure was enshrined in boats to pray for safe voyages.
Owing to her benevolence, Mazu has been given 36 titles such as “Madam”, “the Queen of Heaven” and “Holy Mother” from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Read more.
Editor’s note: Reminds me of Jesus’ ascension. How real is either legend?