People pray at temples for all sorts of things. Money, success, love, good fortune, health… these are the major reasons but by no means form a restrictive list.
Perhaps more so than at other religious buildings, visit enough of them and there’s definitely a sense of “anything goes” in Taiwan’s temples.
Case in point when I rocked up to Jhunan Township’s Zhonggang Cihyu Temple, I couldn’t help but notice the car parked out front.
I remember thinking to myself that it was an odd place to park a car, considering there were spots free in the temple carpark less than 20 meters away.
And why had they opened all the doors? Surely there were better places to let your car air out for a bit than right smack outside one of the oldest temples in Miaoli (1658)?
Chalking it up to the notorious “I have a car and I’ll do as I please” attitude most Taiwanese drivers have, I ended up shrugging it off and head inside to explore.
Resurfacing an hour or so later, I saw the owner of the car in the middle of a full-on temple money blessing ritual.
Armed with a blowtorch, he was walking around the car waving around wads of yellow paper money (ghost money?) and saying prayers.
I’m guessing when I initially rocked up he had incense or something wafting through the interior of the car, while he was inside the temple doing his thing.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him some driving lessons would probably serve him better than burning paper around his car so I just stood quietly and watched.
Twenty minutes or so later and he packed up, got in the car and drove off.
Was he asking his dead relatives if they approved his color choice? Praying to the deities inside the temple to deliver him from accidents? Blessing the car as a gift for someone?
Or perhaps he was so fabulously wealthy that he was able to pooh-pooh the traditional burning of paper car for his deceased ancestors, and was instead going to drive this new car into a furnace after he was done.
Sure beat the usual incense lighting and throwing around of those wooden blocks though!
I’ve thought about getting the Long Haul Trucker done just for shits and giggles but wouldn’t know where to start… oh and the staring. Dear god the staring…
It’s alright to bless your new car and all but god forbid I rock up with a bicycle to bless. Knowing my luck someone would probably call the cops on me.