Early settlers in Kinmen mostly arrived by sea from Minnan. Due to harsh environment as well as the constant battles that occurred in the early days, lots of popular folklore festivals in the society of southern China were also brought to Kinmen; later, these festivals were transformed into folklore festivals rich in local features because of the unique history of Kinmen as well as the unique life experience of the locals.
Rituals held at Ancestral Shrines
Most of the settlements in Kinmen were composed of blood-related people with one single family name. Thus the ancestral shrine has become the spiritual center for all villagers because it not only controls the construction and allocation of all space in the settlement, the worshiping ancestor rituals held every spring and fall in the shine are the events of the year for the entire village.
Gods’ Birthdays at Temples
The fear and respect people in traditional society have for the power of nature is the reason temples in Kinmen co-organize the “Ping-An Chiao (Pray for Safety Ritual)” on the birthday of gods they all enshrine. Basically, the ritual is to show their gratitude for God’s protection while praying for good luck and safety for people. The rites for such “Chiao” have become the unique culture for all.
Welcoming the City God
Houpu (Jincheng) City God Temple was linked through the “division of incense” to Chengfen, Jinmencheng back in the reign of Kangxi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty. Later it has become a popular religion for locals in Houpu. Every year, on the 12th day of the 4th lunar month, people in Houpu hold a grand pilgrimage for the City God.
The General’s Temple
The General’s Temple is for worshiping solders who died during the civil war between Nationalist Government and the Communist Party and those died during the War Zone Administration Period. Among them, the most famous and the biggest general’s temple is the Temple of General Li Guang-Qian for it is always enshrouded in a haze of incense smoke, and its prayer for safety ritual is always the biggest event in the area.
chiyuehliuhuo (Light in July of Lunar Calendar)
After the summer solar terms, the biggest traditional Taiwan festival is the Ghost Festival. From the 1st day of the 7th lunar month when hell’s gate open until the end of the month – a whole moth, you will see offerings to ghosts in every village of Kinmen. In the afternoons during the festival, households in Kinmen prepare rich food offerings for “all hungry ghosts”; villagers in some villages near the sea even prepare offerings to ghosts who died at sea and pray for safety.
The ritual of “peace-worship”
It is the chiao ritual in Taoism that celebrates the completion of temples, ancestral shrines and houses. The choice for the date to hold the ritual of peace-worship has everything to do with Yin and Yang and Feng Shui. A year that could benefit the construction/building will be chosen; and that it why sometimes such a ritual is held years after the construction/ building is complete.