On Tuesday, when we returned to Taipei, I had the oral surgery on my tooth. This is the second time that I have had to have oral surgery done in Taiwan. In my experience, both the Taiwanese oral surgeons and dentists are excellent. I don’t have Taiwan dental insurance, but it seems to always cost about what I would pay in the USA with my co-pay for dental work. So, no savings on out-of-pocket costs for me, but emergency dental work done when I need it.
Seafaring gods and too many Wangye temples
This was something I learned about in Tainan, but that post was getting very long so I decided to talk about it here. The worship of the god Wangye in Taiwan originates from China. As it was humid and pestilence was rampant along the costal of Fuchien in earlier times, people believed that was an omen from the god of pestilence, Wangye, whenever a plague happened. To make the suffering go away and keep it from happening again, they would make a god boat when there was a plague to carry the statue of Wangye away and to dispel the pestilence. This way to drive away pestilence and evil gradually became a local custom called the sending off of the Wangye god boat.
The Wangye god boats sent off from Fuchien often flowed to the southwest coast of Taiwan due to wind directions and flow currents. To prevent the recurrence of pestilence in their communities, locals in Taiwan invited Wangye onshore and built a temple to worship him. This made the southwest coast of Taiwan the center of Wangye worship, as a lot of Wangye god boats drifted to them over the centuries. So today there are many Wangye temples in that part of Taiwan. And they must have succeeded to keeping Wangye happy over the centuries, as Taiwan did not suffer as many outbreaks of plagues as Fuchien.
Learning about this helped me to better understand a few other temples and shrines in Taiwan. They had a culture of honoring boats with god statues that drifted ashore, so they did this with other gods also.