Birthday of the Queen of Heaven and the Goddess of the Sea
The Queen of Heaven is connected with a number of different traditions including Buddhism and Taoism. The Queen of Heaven is also known as Goddess of the Sea and Mazu. Mazu is a deity of seafarers, including fishermen. She is worshipped throughout China’s coastal regions and by Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. She is regarded as a powerful and benevolent Queen of Heaven.
Mazu is very popular among the Chinese in Taiwan. The birthday or festival of Mazu, which falls on the 23rd day of the 3rd month in the Chinese lunar calendar is a grand celebration.
Mazu was born Lin Moniang, from a small fishing village on Meizhou Island, close to the shores of Putian County in Fujian, China in the late 10th century. She is believed to have studied religious literature, mastering Confucius by 8 and the principal Buddhist sutras by 11. Her principal legend is about her at the age of 16, saving her family members who were caught offshore during a typhoon. Mazu died unmarried at the age of 27 or 28. Although she was claimed to have died while in meditation, some believed that she did not die but climbed a mountain alone and ascended into Heaven as a goddess. There are also other versions of her story. For example, some said that she drowned at 16 after failing to find her lost father.
The festival of Mazu is on the birthday of Lin Moniang on the 23rd day of the 3rd month of the Chinese lunar calendar. Mazu’s statue is usually clothed in the attire of an empress and decorated with accessories such as a flat-topped imperial cap with rows of beads hanging from the front and back.