Kungshen Wangye’s Salt for Peace Festival

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2017 NOV

The salt industry, traditionally a symbol of wealth, was one of mankind’s earliest industries and the first product in history traded on an international scale. The Yunlin-Chiayi-Tainan (Yun-Chia-Nan) salt industry set down a deep foundation in this area as early as the Zheng Chenggong period of the Ming dynasty. Evaporating, drying, and crystalizing salt water was a complex and highly technical process. For more than 340 years the sea (or solar) salt industry in Taiwan was not only the staple industry, it was the lifeblood of Taiwan’s economic development and an indispensible part of everyday life. Although in 2002 Taiwan brought to a close this 338-year-old industry, the unique salt field landscape of the Yun-Chia-Nan region gave birth to a portrait of salt industry culture and salt village life that has left a rich and lingering cultural heritage. The snow-white salt crystals not only flavor our food, by Taiwan custom every time a child “meets an evil spirit” at night and cries inconsolably, we fill a pouch of red cloth with grains of rice and salt in the so-called “salt and rice sprinkling” ceremony to calm the child, which also brings good luck and peace. The Yun-Chia-Nan coastal area contains the unique sights associated with the salt industry as well as broad sandbar, lagoons and wetlands, a one-of-a-kind natural environment. In the early years along the southwest shoreline there were seven pocket islands (now sandbanks) looking like seven kun (gigantic legendary fish) swimming in the ocean so they got the name of “kunshen” (“kun bodies”). Sandbanks are thus combined with the local religious belief in “Wang Ye” and integrated with “salt” as the organizing theme, using its symbolism of good fortune over evil, to create this event and give it its name: “The Kungshen Wangye’s Salt for Peace Festival.” This event combines salt culture, religions beliefs, and ecology while incorporating the “kunshen,” “Wang Ye,” and “Salt of Peace” images of the area. The event kicks off at the “Nankunshen Daitian Temple” (the master temple for the Wang Ye belief) and the salt workers original home of “Beimen.” Each year a marketing exhibit for agricultural and fish products and small gift packets is launched by top businessmen within the unified Yunlin,Chiayi, Tainan City region so that visitors can sample the special Yun-Chia-Nan foods without having to make a long trip. Spawned by the symbolism of this event, creative souvenirs have been designed, like the “salt of peace lucky bag.” Because the designs of these souvenirs are beautiful and change every year, they have been well appreciated year after year by visitors who are attracted to come in great numbers to collect them. In addition, a rich array of activities is provided, including big prizes in bobei (traditional game of chance), do-it-yourself salt making, a lion dance competition and trophy, and folk song singing that are well worth experiencing.
International
No. 976, Kunjiang, Beimen Dist., Tainan City (Nankunshen Temple)Tainan City Beimen DistrictMap
886-6-7863711
Nan Kun Shen Dai Tian Temple
Photos
Kungshen Wangye’s Salt for Peace Festival
Kungshen Wangye’s Salt for Peace Festival
Kungshen Wangye’s Salt for Peace Festival
Kungshen Wangye’s Salt for Peace Festival
Kungshen Wangye’s Salt for Peace Festival
Kungshen Wangye’s Salt for Peace Festival
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