Every city in Taiwan has its own City God temple, to pay homage to their local patron saints of local officials to pray for peace and protection from typhoon and natural disasters. Built in 1950, the Taichung ChengHuang Temple is an important historical building in the city located in the Shinan District.
The City God Temple was originally built in Taichung County magistrate during Qing Dynasty, particularly in the city’s Eastern Music Industry, the location of the present Taichung City Sugar Factory. However, during the Japanese occupation, the Japanese Imperial Court occupied it and used as a military barracks. Later on, the once-military barracks was converted into a sugar factory. In 1919, the local people near East district set up a temporary temple. After the war, Taichung gentry reconstructed the temple in Taichung Nam Cooperation Street No, 50, Lane 94. After the Taiwan retrocession, renovation and expansion of the temple was spearheaded by the Taichung Temple Management Committee.
ChengHuang’s birthday is annually celebrated in Taichung City on the 11th day of the fifth lunar month. It is known as the manifestation anniversary or simply the Birthday of Cheng Huang. During his birthday, a large influx of pilgrims visits the temple to pray and offer respect. ChengHuang or the deity of the city is a very significant deity in the local’s everyday life. In the past, when someone experienced unsolvable problem, the first thing he does is to seek assistance to Cheng Huang. The honoring of Cheng Huang started since Han Dynasty and then being succeeded in Song, Yuan, and Ming until Qing Dynasty.
When visiting ChengHuang temple during manifestation anniversary, certain Chinese customs are followed. Several suggested items must be prepared for paying respect including five oranges, longevity noodles, longevity peaches, rice wine, Chinese tea, candles, flowers or lotus, paper offerings, Ang Ku Kueh and Huat Kueh. After preparing the items, you can proceed to the temple and start your Paying Respect ritual.
The shrine of Taichung City God Temple is considered an important relic in Taichung, being a venue to numerous ceremonies, cultural activities and other folk activities. Inside the temple, you will notice several deity statues and colorful wall paintings. On the patio, in front of the main hall, you can see plenty of little turtles roaming around the small garden. According to Chinese traditional beliefs, turtles symbolize longevity, power and tenacity.
Furthermore, you can also see the statue of General Xie (7th master) and General Fan (8th master). You will identify the statue of General Xie with its tall and skinny physique. He is also often referred to as the White Guard of Impermanence. On the other hand, General Fan is the short and rotund image inside the temple. It is believed that they were policemen during ancient times but were rewarded by the Heavenly Emperor as gods because of loyalty to their duties.
The ChengHuang temple architecture is truly a breath of fresh air from the tall, modern buildings you can see in the city center. The irimoya-style roof adorned with colorful sculpture of dragons is the most striking feature of the building. It is decorated with ancient gold furnace with an entrance hallway supported by two large pillars painted in gold.