Asia Pacific Baosheng Cultural Festival 2011 亚太保生文化节
Since 1994, Baoan Temple, 保安宫, in Taipei has transformed the traditional birthday celebrations of the God of Medicine or Bao sheng Dadi, 保生大帝, into an international cultural festival.
Known as the Asia Pacific Baosheng Cultural Festival, a series of public events was spread over two months and overlapping with birthday celebrations of four other deities; Zhu Sheng Niang Niang, Mazu, Heavenly Holy Mother and Emperor Sheng Nong. 注生娘娘， 妈祖，天上圣母，神农. See Baoan Temple celebrates birthday of Zhu sheng Niang Niang.
Events in the festival include opera, puppet shows, painting competition, exhibitions, cultural tours, talks, symposiums and even free medical checkups.
The most spectacular part of the celebrations and the largest crowd puller is perhaps the birthday prayers to the God of Medicine. On the eve of his birthday, crowds of devotees pay respect to Bao sheng Da Di as he inspects the surrounding area. This is followed by lighting of fire crackers injecting both noise and color to the celebrations.
On the day of the birthday (15th day of the Third lunar month), there is a prayer ceremony followed by scholarship awards to outstanding students and those who come from financially challenged backgrounds.
In the afternoon, a fire walking ritual took place where devotees demonstrate their faith by walking on hot coals.
Baoan Temple’s celebration also served as a platform to unite and to interact with fellow devotes of Bao Sheng Da Di. This year, the temple invited delegations from temples in South East Asia that worships the God of Medicine.
The Baosheng Cultural Festival has raised awareness of a traditional celebration and went on to incorporated social and cultural events to broaden its appeal.
It supports traditional arts while offering the young and tourists an opportunity to experience them.
Worthy of mention too is the support from Taipei City Government and the tourism authorities. An attractively well-designed brochure is conveniently available at all hotels to inform and invite tourists to the event.
The organizers of Asia Pacific Baosheng Cultural Festival working together with multiple stakeholders have transformed a traditional worship practice into an international event generating culture capital for Taiwan.
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