TAIPEI (Taiwan News) –In order to have the extra auspicious distinction of being the very first member of the public to place their incense stick into a temple’s grand ceremonial incense burner, people rushed into temples throughout Taiwan at the stroke of 11:00 p.m, when the Year of the Dog officially began.
It’s been reported that the very first person throughout Taiwan to officially place their incense in the burner, and thus receive their blessings for the year, was a 21 year old college student at the Dajia Renn Lann Temple (大甲鎮瀾宮) in Taichung County.
Petitioners began crowding outside temples throughout the islands on the evening of Feb. 15, the Lunar New Year’s Eve waiting for the chance to wish for the first blessings of the New Year.
At Dajia Renn Lann Temple, the Temple administrators and members first completed their own private ceremonies, and once finished, opened their doors to the waiting public. It has become a tradition for members of the public to rush in and grab a stick of incense as quickly as possible to get the first bit of luck the new year has to offer.
This year that bit of luck was claimed almost immediately, in less than 3 seconds, by 21 year old Zhuo Wenzhen (卓文禛), who battled against a crown of mostly young men, to plant her incense in the burner with a single decisive motion.
According to Apple Daily, Zhuo is a fourth year student at the Chinese Culture University outside Taipei. Her wishes for the Year of the Dog is to successfully finish her university program to graduate.
The surprisingly agile young lady received an NT$ 30,000 prize as well as a gift statue of the deity Mazu for her successful and athletic display of religious fervor. Many commentators viewing the recorded video of her “grab, dash, and plant” maneuver were astonished by her quick motions.
(Video stills from the recording on the 大甲鎮瀾宮 fb page)
Video of the event was shared on the the Temple’s official FB page, to view the excitement of the crowd rushing in, begin watching at the 18:00 mark.
A video recorded from the temple entrance was uploaded to youtube as well.