23rd March (Lunar Calendar) marks the birthday of Mazu, also known as “Mazu’s Birth”, and is a significant religious occasion for Mazu temples everywhere.
As this date approaches every year, various celebratory ceremonies are held, including the famous Dajia Mazu Pilgrimage and Xingang Fengtian Temple’s Mazu Cultural Festival.
On Mazu’s birthday, not only is the energy for praying for good fortune exceptionally strong, but this year, fortune tellers have also identified 4 zodiac signs that will experience particularly good luck!
How should one pay respects on “Mazu’s Birthday”?
What offerings are needed for Mazu? Understand the worshipping rituals and taboos at a glance.
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When is Mazu’s Birthday?
Mazu’s birthday date in 2024 is 1 May, 2024 (Gregorian Calendar), 23 March (Lunar Calendar).
According to an article on the National Religious Information Network, Mazu, originally named Lin Moniang, was from Meizhou Island, Putian County, Quanzhou.
Growing up near the sea, Moniang was well-versed in water from a young age and would often help fishermen or traders in distress at sea.
At the age of 26, she unfortunately passed away while saving others. The people who had received her help decided to build a shrine to worship Moniang.
Later, Mazu displayed miracles and gradually became the maritime protector deity in coastal areas of China, eventually being honored with the title “Heavenly Holy Mother” by the emperor.
Today, Mazu has become a common belief across Taiwan. A researcher and director at the Academia Sinica Institute of Ethnology, Zhang Xun, once wrote that worshipping Mazu could bless the maritime transportation industry, ensure abundant catches for fishermen, and safe voyages.
As ancestors sailed to Taiwan and settled down, Mazu gradually became a commonly worshipped deity nationwide. People can pray to Mazu for exams, health, and marriage matters as well.
How to Worship on Mazu’s Birthday?
Besides preparing basic offerings like vegetarian sacrifices, fruits, rice cakes, and noodles, it’s also reminded that since Mazu likes flowers, one can prepare some even-numbered fresh flowers for worship according to one’s needs.
For instance, hydrangeas and Miltoniopsis orchids can be offered for seeking romance or peach blossom luck; while lucky bamboo and willows could be chosen for career or academic progress, symbolizing promotions and financial gains.
Additionally, it’s said that Mazu appreciates beauty, so you can place some cosmetics, skincare products, or nail polish on the offering table.
Whether used or gifted, they carry the blessings of becoming beautiful. Candies can also be offered, and shared with people around you after the worship, symbolizing the idea of “letting others taste sweetness, speaking well of you” on your behalf.
10 Most Effective Offerings When Praying to Mazu
- Vegetarian offerings
- 3 or 5 types of fruits
- Rice cakes and/or Red turtle cakes
- Noodles tied with red paper
- 3 cups of clear tea
- Pastries, etc 3 bowls of red glutinous rice balls
- Cosmetics, skincare products
- Joss paper (longevity money, shredded money)
- Even-numbered fresh flowers
- For helpful connections: Lilies
- For career, academics: Lucky bamboo, willows (symbolizing continuous upward progress and financial prosperity)
- For romance, peach blossom luck: Hydrangeas, Miltoniopsis orchids
For the worship ritual on Mazu’s Birthday, four types of joss paper are used, namely, large hundred longevity joss, longevity joss, shredded joss, and fortune joss.
It’s pivotal during the worship to tidy up any drying underwear, socks, or other clothes near the altar to maintain reverence towards Mazu and other deities.
The “Bao Ma Zi” (herald) plays a key role as Mazu’s vanguard, notifying believers with a gong sound that the procession is nearing, and ensuring the procession remains orderly to prevent any delays. It’s a gesture of respect to Mazu and the deities to ensure drying clothes are cleared away.
Whether followers are paying a visit to Mazu’s temple or setting up an altar at the entrance for worship on Mazu’s Birthday, understanding Mazu’s preferences is crucial.
Mazu has a fondness for tea and fragrant flowers, with a preference for fresh flowers in even numbers. Generally, there are no special restrictions, however, the use of fake flowers is strictly discouraged.
Steps to Worship Mazu
The steps to worship Mazu are actually quite simple. As long as offerings are properly placed, prayers are sincerely recited, and joss paper is duly burned, one can pray to Mazu for safety.
However, there are two taboos to be aware of during Mazu worship. Those with long hair should not let their hair hang loose but keep it tidy, and should not wear sunglasses as it can be seen as disrespectful to the deity.
- Silently recite the prayer: “Disciple (believer) OOO, residing at (current address), born on Republic Year OO, Month O, Day O, Hour O, has prepared offerings and joss paper to present to Mazu today, praying for the health and safety of the entire family, and success in career (prayer requests can be adjusted individually).
- After the incense has burned 2/3 of the way, the joss paper on the offering table can be taken down, bowed to three times, and then burned.
Casting moon blocks and drawing lots are direct methods many believers use to seek answers from the deity during worship.
However, not everyone has the time to visit the temple on Mazu’s birthday for divine guidance. Therefore, four Mazu temples have opened online divination services.
By sincerely praying to the Mazu on the screen, providing information such as name, lunar birth date, and address, one can cast moon blocks and draw lots online for free.
4 Top Zodiac Signs During the Month of Mazu’s Birthday
In the month of Mazu’s Birthday in 2024, individuals of these zodiac signs will experience an abundance of good fortune, especially with the presence of benefactors turning the tides, propelling career luck skyward!
- Zodiac Horse: Individuals born in the Year of the Horse will experience a magnificent soar, akin to a phoenix rising from the ashes!
- Zodiac Sheep: Those born in the Year of the Sheep will reach the pinnacle of life, reaping both wealth and happiness in abundance!
- Zodiac Pig: Individuals born in the Year of the Pig will embark on new journeys of success, stepping onto the path of a comeback!
- Zodiac Dog: Those born in the Year of the Dog will encounter their moment of reversal, with financial luck pouring in like a torrential storm, and a massive burst in networking opportunities!
The Path to Divine Blessings
In wrapping up, the diverse traditions we explored open doors to a rich spiritual experience.
Whether it’s by worshipping Guan Gong for valor, seeking protection from the Tiger God, praying to the 4-Faced Buddha at Erawan Shrine, inviting good fortune with the God of Wealth, engaging in prayers with Tua Pek Gong, or finding solace by worshipping the Goddess of Mercy, each practice tells a unique story of faith.
Among these, celebrating Mazu’s Birthday shines a special light on how following the correct worshipping steps can usher in enhanced blessings.
It’s more than just a ritual; it’s a way to connect not just with Mazu, but with a long-standing lineage of faith that continues to bring hope, grace, and a sense of spiritual belonging into our lives.