Our forefathers had always held Mazu in high regard as they would seek Her blessings for a safe journey at sea. Today, besides being worshipped as a deity by millions around the world, Mazu plays an important role in the preservation and promotion of Chinese culture as Her selflessness and courageous acts exemplify Chinese values and teachings that continue to influence the young generations, and at the same time, advance local and international cultural exchanges amongst Chinese, creating a platform for many to bond.
To promote Mazu’s culture, Mazu temple of Meizhou Island, Putien China, organized Meizhou Mazu’s maiden trip to Southeast Asia titled “Mazu’s Voyage to Southeast Asia – Revisiting the Maritime Silk Road” from 1 to 7 July 2017. Meizhou Mazu and Her entourage of more than 130 Meizhou Mazu temple representatives arrived in Singapore on 5 July. Thereafter, She embarked on a tour to 8 local Mazu temples managed by various dialect groups. The tour exhibited rich and colourful local culture, and fostered international friendship. After covering more than 100km on the road, Meizhou Mazu arrived at Thian Hock Keng at 11pm.
The Ceremony in Honour of Mazu was organized by Thian Hock Keng on 6 July at 10am. Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport was the Guest-of-Honour for the ceremony which showcased traditional courtyard dance performances and rites that date back more than 1000 years to the Song Dynasty.
Meizhou Mazu departed for Her hometown in the early morning of 7 July.
Mr Tan Aik Hock, Chairman of SHHK General Affairs Committee and Thian Hock Keng Management Committee commented that Meizhou Mazu’s maiden voyage to Singapore was a special event that not only promotes Mazu’s culture and values, but also fosters international and local relationships, making reference to the participation of 38 local temples at the ceremony. Mr Tan added, “It is also a rare occasion where 13 statues of deities from other temples in Singapore were present at Thian Hock Keng to bless devotees who had turned up to pray to Meizhou Mazu.”