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台灣媽祖的歷史淵源
The Historical Origins of Matsu in Taiwan

林美容教授/Lin Mei-rong
(中央研究院民族學研究所研究員兼行為組主任及台灣宗教學會會長)
(Researcher, Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, and head of the Taiwan Association for Religious Studies)

2001-04-02
e02_20010402_0402 Lao Liu Ma Matsu from Changhua’s NanyaoTemple, on an altar in a private home
(photo provided by the author)


  媽祖是台灣人最普遍信仰的神明。無論大莊或小莊、山村或漁村、鄉鎮或市街、港口或內山,都可看到媽祖廟。台灣媽祖文化節已從三月二十五日零時起開鑼。媽祖文化節活動由台中大甲鎮瀾宮先行展開,媽祖於國曆三月二十五日零時起駕出發,展開到新港奉天宮,整個繞境進香的行程貫穿台中、彰化、雲林、嘉義四縣,來回約三百七十二公里,於四月一日返回大甲。適逢節慶之際,本週請中央研究院民族學研究所研究員,兼行為組主任及台灣宗教學會會長林美容博士執筆,談談台灣媽祖的歷史淵源與文化背景。

  Matsu is the most widely-worshipped deity inTaiwan. In towns large and small, mountainvillages and fishing harbors, country townsand city streets, out by the sea and farinland, Matsu temples are everywhere. Taiwan’sMatsu culture festival started in the earlyhours of March 25. The Matsu culture festivalactivities kicked off from Chenlan Temple inTachia, Taichung, and kicks off just aftermidnight on March 25, extending to FungtienTemple in Hsinkang, offering incense along thewhole route of the procession, through the fourcounties of Taichung, Changhua, Yunlin andChiayi, a total of around 372 km, arriving backin Tachia on April 1. It so happens that thisweek coincides with the festival, and so thisweek we have invited Lin Mei-rong, researcherat Academia Sinica’s Institute of Ethnology,and head of the Taiwan Association forReligious Studies, to write about thehistorical origins and cultural background ofMatsu in Taiwan.


 台灣人最普遍信仰的神明

  媽祖是台灣人最普遍信仰的神明。無論大莊或小莊、山村或漁村、鄉鎮或市街、港口或內山,都可看到媽祖廟。有些媽祖廟甚且是跨鄉鎮或區域性的信仰中心。有些地方即使沒有媽祖廟,也會有祭祀媽祖的活動。有關媽祖的祭祀活動除了「媽祖生」為媽祖慶賀誕辰之外,進香與迎媽祖的活動是最普遍的。我們不妨從媽祖的相關活動來看媽祖信仰的社會、文化與歷史意義。

The deity most widely worshipped by the Taiwanese

Matsu is the deity most commonly worshipped byTaiwanese people. In towns large and small,mountain villages and fishing harbors, countrytowns and city streets, out by the sea and farinland, Matsu temples are everywhere. These Matsutemples cross town, village and local boundariesas centers of faith. Some areas will have Matsuworship and sacrifice activities, even if theydon’t have a Matsu temple. Apart from “Matsu Sheng"which celebrates Matsu’s birthday, the most commonMatsu worship activities are offering incense attemples, and “welcoming Matsu." We might as wellstart looking at the meaning of Matsu-worshippingsociety, culture and history from Matsu-relatedactivities.


 主神與客神一起參與巡境

  神明都會有聖誕,媽祖生日為農曆三月二十三日,所有的祭祀活動都環繞在其生日前後舉行。一般會選在生日之前舉行進香的活動,以便在聖誕之前媽祖可以回到本地,接受本地信徒為她慶賀生日。生日當天和一般「神明生」一樣會有巡境的活動,在媽祖自己的轄境內巡繞,以保佑境內平安。有時自己的媽祖還不夠,還要到外地請別的媽祖來當「客神」,因此巡境之前往往舉行請媽祖或迎媽祖的活動,以便主神和客神一起參與巡境。特別原本沒有祭祀媽祖的村莊,也常在「媽祖生」時從外地請一尊媽祖來迎鬧熱並繞境。

Local Matsus and guest Matsus participate inthe trip together

  All gods have birthdays, and Matsu’s birthday fallson the 23rd day of the third month in the lunarcalendar. All the worship and sacrifice activitiesare held shortly before and after this date. Mostpeople choose to go to temples and burn incense inthe days preceding her birthday, so that Matsu canreturn to her home before her birthday, and have herbirthday celebrated by her local followers. On theday of the birthday, as with the birthdays of mostgods, there are “inspection tour" activities, andthe inspection tour is carried out within the areaunder Matsu’s jurisdiction, in order to bless andprotect the peace with the area. Sometimes, thelocal Matsu is not enough, and it’s necessary toinvite in Matsus from other areas as “guestgoddesses," and so before the inspection tour,people often hold “inviting Matsu" or “welcomingMatsu" activities, in order to get the local Matsuand guest Matsus to participate in the inspectiontour together. In particular, villages which don’thave their own tradition of worshipping Matsu willoften invite a Matsu from elsewhere to come andhave a lively parade on Matsu’s birthday.


 「迎媽祖」的巡境活動

  所謂的「迎媽祖」,是到外地去迎一尊本地居民普遍信仰或有淵源的媽祖來參與巡境的活動。不管自己村裡或是共同舉行迎媽祖的區域是否已有一尊「在莊媽」或「在地媽」,都可能會往外地去迎媽祖。通常是往地域層級高一點的地方去迎媽祖。例如,台中縣霧峰﹑烏日與大裡地區有一個「東保十八莊」迎媽祖的活動,已經有一百多年的歷史,共有十八個村莊參與,這十八個村莊並沒有共有的廟,但卻有一尊共有的媽祖稱為「十八莊媽」。每年三月初一開始把附近的旱溪媽祖、南屯媽祖、台中媽祖、彰化媽祖通通請來,參與繞境,隊伍當中,「十八莊媽」在前領路,各莊依一定的順序,逐日在莊內迎神繞境並請客。

Inspection tour activities for “Welcoming Matsu"

  "Welcoming Matsu" means going somewhere outsideyour local district to welcome a Matsu widelyworshipped by local residents, or with somehistorical connection with that area to come andparticipate in the inspection tour activities. Itdoesn’t matter whether the village or the areawhere the “welcoming Matsu" activities are carriedout has a “Matsu in the village" or a “local Matsu,"it’s possible to go to another place to welcome Matsu.In general, people go to somewhere higher up on thesocial scale to welcome Matsu. For instance, in theregion which includes Wufeng, Wuri and Tali inTaichung County, there is a “Tung Pao EighteenVillages" Matsu-welcoming activity, which has beenheld for over a century, in which a total of 18villages participate. None of these 18 villageshave a temple, but they do have a shared Matsu,who is known as “Matsu of the Eighteen Villages."Every year, at the beginning of March, local Matsus,including the Han Hsi Matsu, the Nan Tun Matsu, theTaichung Matsu and the Changhua Matsu, are allinvited to participate, and the “Matsu of theEighteen Villages" leads the procession. Theprocession passes through the villages in anestablished order, and each day, Matsu is carriedaround to “welcome" her, and people feast.


e02_20010402_0402_1

Changhua County Chief Juan Kang-mengcarries the Matsu palanquin fromTaichung’s Chenlan Temple (CNA)


 「進香」表達對該神明的敬意

  「進香」則是到遠處的、有名的、歷史悠久的、香火旺盛的寺廟去朝香,表示對該神明的敬意。與迎媽祖的差別是進香並不會把對方的媽祖之神像請回來,只是去分沾她的香火,因此自己的神明是要出去的,到了進香對象的媽祖廟,神像也要進去,放在神殿上,有時是用「掬火」的方式,有時是用交香的方式,沾取對方的香火。另一個與迎媽祖的差別是進香的地點不一定與地域層級有關,因此進香的地點遠一點也是常見的事。

“Offering incense" shows respect to the god

   "Offering incense" involves going to distant, famous,historical temples thick with temple smoke to burnincense, and it expresses respect to the god orgoddess in question. The difference between “offeringincense" and “welcoming Matsu" is that “offeringincense" doesn’t involve asking the statue of theMatsu from the opposite temple to return, you justhave to go and share her incense, and so you haveto get your own goddess out, and take her to theopposite Matsu temple, and you also have to take thestatue into the temple, and place it on the altar.Sometimes the “holding fire" method is used, andsometimes the “exchanging incense" method, sharing thebenefit of the incense from the other side. Another wayin which it is different from the “welcoming Matsu"ritual is that the place in which you “offer incense"doesn’t have to be connected with regional level.


 希望自己神明的香火也同樣旺盛

  媽祖進香雖然是去表示敬意,給對方面子,但是自己要的是裡子,也就是說儀式的作用在沾取或分割對方香火到己方來,希望自己神明的香火也同樣旺盛,因此進香回來都要舉行繞境的儀式,神明繞過家家戶戶,把香火正旺的神明的香爐裡的香枝,與信徒家之香爐的香枝「交換香」,目的即是為了利益自己境內的信徒。進香雖然需要的花費龐大,但是生財有道的廟宇常藉進香賺錢,因為一般人也喜歡參加進香,左鄰右舍、呼朋引伴同往參加更是樂趣無窮,既是神聖之旅,也是觀光之旅,又是社交之旅,一兼二顧三顧,這是台灣人的行為模式。最重要的是,共同舉辦進香的地域社群藉著進香的共同行腳,促進彼此的共同體或社群意識,這是進香最明顯的社會意涵。因此進香的來去兩造之間不無名與利、面子與裡子之互惠性交換的意涵。海峽兩岸媽祖的交流也應如此,我向你表示敬意,你自當待我以禮。神明間的行為表現其實亦是人間的交際邏輯。

 Hoping that the incense of your own god willburn as brightly

  Although offering incense to Matsu shows respect,and gives face to the other party, what you wantfor yourself is substantial advantage, that is,ceremonial function when sharing or dividingthe other party’s incense back to your ownplace, you hope that your own god’s incensewill burn equally well. Consequently, whenreturning from offering incense, you have holdprocessional ceremonies, and carry the goddessaround from house to house, and take the burningincense sticks from out of the goddess’s incenseburner, and exchange them with incense sticksfrom the burners in the houses of Matsu’sfollowers. The aim is to benefit the followersin your local area. Although “offering incense"requires spending a lot of money, but templeswhich are good at money-making frequently makea profit out of “offering incense" because mostpeople enjoy attending the incense offering,and it’s more fun for neighbors go to attendthe ceremonies in big groups. It turns into across between a pilgrimage, a tour, and a socialouting, killing several birds with one stone,it’s a very Taiwanese social behavior. The mostimportant thing is that the local communitiesjointly holds the “incense offering", and bydoing it together, they promote a sense ofcommunity feeling between the two places, andthis is the clearest social content to be foundin the “incense offering." Consequently, thisgoing backwards and forwards to offer incenseinvolves a reciprocal exchange between the twoplaces of fame and gain, and which gives both"face" and “substantial advantage." Exchange ofMatsu visits between Taiwan and China shouldalso be carried out with the same ideals inmind, I show you respect, and you naturallymust treat me politely. The behavior ofexchanging god expresses the logic of socialintercourse.


 回思先民蓽路襤褸的歷史意識

 我們若觀察進香的路線可發現它正好是移民路線的反向。先民由唐山過台灣,在台由南而北拓墾,今人到大陸進香,由北而南在台灣各地的歷史名廟展開進香,不無回思先民蓽路襤褸,移墾艱辛的歷史意識。因此,鄭成功登陸最早地點的鹿耳門之媽祖廟,中部移民進出的港口如鹿港與笨港,均有媽祖廟,並由於正統之爭,顯功與土城之媽祖廟相持不下,北港與新港為誰是笨港之正統爭執激烈。

Thoughts on the historical significance ofthe pioneer life

  If we observe the incense offeringitinerary,we find that it is the exactopposite ofimmigration in Taiwan. Ourancestors came to Taiwan from China, andonce in Taiwan, spread from the south tothe north of the island,and today people goto the mainland to offer incense, and thefamous historical temples line the route ofincense offering from north to south inTaiwan, causing us to reflect on thehistorical significance to be found in thehard life of the pioneers who came toTaiwan, and worked their fingers to thebone cultivating the land. That’s why thereare controversies over the legitimacy ofthe Matsu temple at Lu Er Men, the spotwhere Koxinga first set foot on Taiwan, andthe Matsu temples at harbors such as Lukangand Penkang where the central Taiwanimmigrants set out from, and the Matsutemples of Hsienkung and Tucheng are lockedin a deadlock over this. Peikang andHsinkang disagreed fiercely over which ofthem was the real Penkang.


 顯示台灣社會深層的二元結構

   不僅顯功與土城、北港與新港,台灣很多地方的媽祖廟都有媽祖的二元之爭,顯示台灣社會深層的二元結構。例如,新竹城有內外媽祖之分,內媽祖在天後宮,外媽祖在長和宮;彰化城也有內外媽祖之分,城內是天後宮,城外是南瑤宮。二元之分有時是官廟與民廟之別,有時是城內與城外之別,有時是漳泉之別。媽祖廟是民氣匯聚之處,民之所分,自然也就現之於神。

Revealing the dual structure of Taiwan society’sdeep layers

  It’s not just Hsienkung and Tucheng, Peikang andHsinkang: many Matsu temples in Taiwan havecompeting pairs of Matsus, revealing the dualstructure of Taiwan society’s deep layers. Forexample, the city of Hsinchu makes a distinctionbetween the inside Matsu and the outside Matsu.The inner Matsu is at the Tienhou Temple,whereas the outside Matsu is at the ChanghoTemple. The city of Changhua also distinguishesbetween an inner and outer Matsu: within thecity is the Tienhou Temple, outside the city isthe Nanyao Temple. Sometimes, the distinctionbetween two Matsus is due to the existence ofone temple for officials and another for thecommon people, other times it’s because there’sone temple inside the town and another outsideit. There are cases where the distinction isthe descent from immigrants from Quanzhou. Matsutemples are places where people come together,and the divisions that people make betweenthemselves will naturally be manifested withtheir gods.


e02_20010402_0402_2 Worshippers move the Matsu statue fromthe Chenlan Temple at Tachia, Taichung,into a palanquin


 媽祖的台灣化——由海神而成雨水之神

  台灣的媽祖神像有一些特色,黑面是其一,雍容富貴是其二,與大陸消瘦的粉面媽對照強烈。媽祖原是海神,緣起於莆田湄洲嶼小島上的漁村之女,生前死後都有護佑海上安全、救助海難的靈驗事蹟。台灣先民攜之渡海來台,保佑平安,在台拓墾以來,迭獲庇佑,媽祖已然台灣化,由海神而成雨水之神,「大道公風,媽祖婆雨」的傳說更助長迎媽祖常帶來雨水的事蹟傳播。台中縣大肚與龍井地區,有一個「西保二十莊迎媽祖」的組織,當地有一則諺語最能傳神的表達媽祖帶來雨水以及三月時節氣候陰晴不定的景況:「墩仔頭烏,營埔雨,林仔爛糊糊,澇婿浪雨滂,王田燒死人,山仔頂著青驚,社腳去探聽,講無影,大肚戲相拼」。

The “Taiwanization" of Matsu – from Goddessof the Sea to Rain Goddess

  Taiwan’s Matsu goddess has a few specialcharacteristics, one of which is her black face,her elegant and poised bearing is another, ingreat contrast to the Chinese Matsu’s thin,powdered face. Matsu was originally Goddess ofthe Sea. She started out as a girl from afishing village on the island of Meizhou, inPutian (Fujian Province). Before and after herdeath, she kept the sea safe, and came to theaid of those in trouble on the sea. Ourancestors brought her over with them when theycrossed the sea to Taiwan, to protect themselves,and when they moved inwards, cultivating theland of Taiwan, they frequently appealed to herfor blessings and protection, and thus Matsubecame “Taiwanized," and having started out asGoddess of the Sea became Goddess of Rain. TheTaiwanese saying, “Lord Tatao controls the wind,and the lady Matsu brings the rain" furtherencouraged the belief that the ritual of"welcoming Matsu" often brought rain. Tatu andLungching in Taichung County have anorganization called “Hsipao Twenty villageswelcoming Matsu," and there is a local sayingwhich perfectly expresses the belief that Matsubrings the rains, and the unpredictable weatherof the month of March: “At Duonatao, the sky isblack, at Ngyahpo it’s raining. At Lima, theroads are muddy roads, at Lasay the rain hasstopped for a while. But the heat is stiflingat Ongtsan, so people are in shock over atSwahadien. At Shiaka, people are asking “is ittrue?" No, it’s not! At Dwado, different playsare being performed in competition."


 衍生出水利神與農業神的性格

  雨水太多造成水災時,卻又有「掃溪路」的靈力,也就是說,巡境或迎媽祖時,神轎特別繞過插香之處,該年若遇氾濫之水,必然順此而流,不侵莊社。總之,無論是止風歇浪、海上救難,或是呼風喚雨,說停就停,叫流就流,均彰顯媽祖具有控制水的靈力。台灣湍多水急,遇雨多災的自然環境自然衍生出媽祖之水利神性格,以適應農業時期台灣社會的需要。而農耕最怕稻蟲害,媽祖也有驅蟲的靈力。這使得媽祖更具有農業神的性格。此外,最誇張的媽祖靈驗事蹟是二次大戰時,美軍轟炸台灣,媽祖顯靈在半空中掀裙接住炸彈,這個故事台灣南北皆有傳說,可以想見戰時人們的恐懼,求之神明,如望救星。

Derived from her personality as goddess of watermanagement and agriculture

  When an excess of rain causes floods, Matsu alsohas a supernatural power which can “sweep therivers," that’s to say that when people conduct"inspection tours" or “welcome Matsu," thepalanquin of the goddess makes a special touraround the place where incense is placed, andif there have been floods that year, the floodmust flow down to the direction of theprocession, and not encroach on the village.In short, no matter whether the wind stops andthe waves cease, rescue on the sea, or cause thewind and rain to blow, if she tells it to stop,it will stop, if she orders the waters to drainaway, they will drain away, equally it’s clearthat Matsu possesses the power to control water.Taiwan has many dangerous waters, and the naturalenvironment of typhoons and floods naturally ledto Matsu having the character of a watermanagement goddess, one who suited the needs ofTaiwanese society in the agricultural age.Farmers most fear insects ruining their riceharvests, and Matsu also has the power to repelinsects. This gives Matsu the character of anagricultural goddess too. Apart from these,the most exaggerated powers attributed to Matsuwere during the Second World War, when the U.S.airforce was bombing Taiwan, and Matsu appearedin the sky and lifted up her skirts to catch thebombs. This story was told all over Taiwan, inthe south and the north, you can imagine howterrified people were during the war, and howthey searched for a god or goddess who could betheir “savior."


 具有整合人群的作用

  媽祖姓林,林姓視之為祖姑婆,崇奉尤濃。台灣陳林半天下,媽祖香火不興也難。況且媽祖除了是一莊一社、一鄉一街、一鎮一堡所祀之外,她亦具有整合人群的作用,例如,苗栗中港慈裕宮(五十三莊)、台南後壁下茄苳泰安宮(三十六莊)整合泉州籍與客家的人群;台中萬和宮南屯媽整合二十五字姓,彰化南瑤宮南門媽整合漳州籍與福佬客三百五十個左右的村莊,彰化社頭枋橋頭天門宮(七十二莊)、斗南順安宮(五十三莊)亦整合漳州籍與福佬客人群,北斗奠安宮(五十三莊)整合泉州籍與漳州籍的住民等等。

A function of drawing society together

  Matsu’s family name was Lin, and people with thefamily name of Lin see Matsu as an ancestor, andworship her particularly intensely. Chen and Linare two of the most common family names inTaiwan, and so you’ll always see incense burningfor Matsu in Taiwan. Moreover, apart thesacrifices that are made to Matsu in everyvillage, community, town and street, she alsohas the function of drawing society together.For example, the Tsu Lu Temple in Chung Kang,Miaoli (53 villages), Tai An Temple in thevillage of Hsi Chieh Tung in Houpi, Tainan (36villages), which both bring together thedescendents of immigrants from Quanzhou (FujianProvince) and the local Hakka population. TheNan Tun Matsu of Taichung’s Wan Ho Temple bringstogether 25 different family names. The Nan MeMatsu of Changhua’s Nanyao Temple bringstogether around 350 villages populated bydescendents of immigrants from Zhangzhou (FujianProvince) and Hokkien-speaking Hakkas. TheTienmen Temple at Fangchiaotou, in Shetou,Changhua (72 villages) and the Shunan Temple inTounan (53 villages) also bring togethercommunities of descendents of Zhangzhouimmigrants and Hokkien-speaking Hakkas. Tien’anTemple in Peitou (53 villages) brings togetherthe descendants of Quanzhou immigrants, andthere are many more examples.


 媽祖的祭典形成聯莊組織

   也因此媽祖的祭典會形成十三莊、十八莊、二十四莊、三十六莊、五十三莊、或七十二莊這樣的聯莊組織。為了媽祖祭典的需要,各莊就要準備各式各樣的熱鬧陣頭,以便在迎神賽會時得以代表村莊參與別莊的熱鬧活動。媽祖的祭典因此帶動各項民俗曲藝與武藝的發展,眾多的曲館與武館之所以在台灣中部特別盛行,也是因為台灣中部有很多媽祖的大型區域性祭典組織,允為媽祖聖地之故。可以這麼說,如果只是為了一莊一社的祭典所需,民眾大概不會有什麼興頭去花錢花力組織曲館與武館,並傳承民俗藝術。感謝台灣媽祖,興我台灣文化。

Matsu’s ceremonies bring villages together

   Another result of this is that Matsu’sceremonies become organizations linking villagestogether, be it 13, 18, 24, 36, 53 or 72villages. In order to meet the needs of Matsu’sceremonies, each village must prepare all sortsof lively processions, so as to allow thevillages to represent themselves in the livelyactivities of other villages when the time comesto “welcome Matsu." Matsu’s ceremoniesconsequently promote all kinds of folk music artand martial art exhibitions, and numerous localmusic schools and martial arts halls flourish incentral Taiwan for the very reason that centralTaiwan has many large-scale regionalorganizations for Matsu’s ceremonies, and can beregarded as the sacred land of Matsu. It couldbe said that if the ceremonies were onlyrequired for one village and one community, thegeneral public probably wouldn’t be soenthusiastic in spending money and effort toorganize local music schools and martial artshalls, and passing down folk customs and art tothe next generation. Thank you, Taiwan Matsu, forkindling our interest in Taiwan’s culture.


 Edited by Hsu, Shiou-Iuan/ translated by Elizabeth Hoile
(許琇媛編輯/何麗薩翻譯)