Latest News

Registration link

About the Yehliu Harbor Purification Festival


         ​ The divine harbor purification is a grand annual event in the Wanli District of New Taipei City during the Lantern Festival. It aims to pray to Kaizhang Shengwang, the “Sacred Prince, Developer of Zhangzhou”, for an abundant fishing harvest and a safe voyage, as revered at Baoan Temple. It is said that, in the 25th year of the Jiaqing Emperor’s reign of Qing Dynasty (1820), an unmanned sailing ship carrying a statue of Kaizhang Shengwang was floating outside Yehliu Harbor. To figure out what had happened to the ship, local villagers boarded it and discovered that there was no one on board, only dozens of Chinese fir timbers and two squared bluish-gray ballast stones in the cabin, and a statue inside the helm room. Remaining puzzled, the locals then towed the ship back to Yehliu for a detailed investigation but found nothing else. Prompted by the supernatural appearance of this unmanned sailing ship, local villagers convened to discuss and unanimously agreed to utilize building materials from the ship, along with seaside coral stones, to erect a modest temple. They replaced the stone lions with squared bluish-gray ballast stones as guardians and housed a statue inside for worship. It is recounted that, toward the end of the Qing Dynasty, a ship departing from Fujian Province, China, encountered a reef and sank in a tempest. Three days before this incident, the spirit of Kaizhang Shengwang manifested in an old fisherman, instructing locals to set up camps outside the harbor and offer spirit money to worship the fishing harbor for purification. As a result, none of the bodies floated into the harbor. Afterward, Kaizhang Shengwang, through a "Jitong" (known as the spirit medium in Chinese culture), expressed his willingness to patrol the harbor during the Lantern Festival. The locals followed his instructions: The strong young male believers carried palanquins bearing the statues of Kaizhang Shengwang, Mazu, General Zhou Cang, and Tudigong (the "God of the Land"), and jumped into the cold waters of the sea, aiming to expel ghosts and monsters in the water while praying for favorable weather, national prosperity, and the well-being of the people. This is the reason that, in gratitude for Kaizhang Shengwang preventing the bodies from floating into the harbor, the locals perform the divine harbor purification ritual on January 15 of the lunar calendar each year to cleanse defilement and expel evil. The divine harbor purification event has been held in Yehliu for over a hundred years. Every year, on January 15 of the lunar calendar, the Yehliu Baoan Temple always organizes the "divine harbor purification" ritual to express gratitude to the deity. Known as one of the three major folk religious activities in Yehliu area, the Yehliu Harbor Purification Festival is not only a grand event of Wanli District, New Taipei City during the Lantern Festival, but also the only sea purification ritual in Taiwan. The entire harbor purification ritual is divided into three parts: “Purification Sea Patrol”, “Divine Harbor Purification” and “Divine Firewalking”. Commencing with the morning harbor purification ritual, fishing vessels will patrol the waters to purify the harbor and distribute the catch to the believers participating in this event. The climax of the event is the "Hundreds Jump in Water": Over a hundred strong young men, having fasted and cleansed themselves before this religious ceremony and bearing with a divine palanquin, will jump into the icy waters in the resounding cheers and lively drum beats, and then disembark on the opposite shore. In the afternoon, the deities will be respectfully invited to patrol around Yehliu for blessings. Also known as "going to the water and coming to the fire", this ritual is imbued with local cultural characteristics. The New Taipei City Government has officially named this event the "Yehliu Harbor Purification Festival" in recent years.