影/美國學生基隆中元祭初體驗 大讚:此生必參加這儀式!

Gregory Thorpe Badrena, special to The China Post
·4 分鐘 (閱讀時間)

【看CP學英文】台灣最北端的港都基隆距離台北市中心不到30分鐘車程,有著綿延數公里長的海岸線,從沙岸到陡峭的岩岸景觀應有盡有。在許多人心中,想到這座美麗的港都,就聯想到每年農曆715日舉辦的「中元祭」活動。

Just a 30-minute drive from Taiwan’s bustling capital lies the port town of Keelung, whose coastline ranges from soft sandy beaches to rough, rocky cliffs. For many, the city is known for a particularly eventful festival which takes place yearly on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month — the Ghost Festival (中元節).

亞洲各國都會舉辦中元節活動,但基隆的中元祭被譽為全台最盛大、特別的中元節祭典,在這裡各宗親會的花車會在街上遶境,而巨大的「水燈」也會被點燃,施放到海裡。

Although celebrated throughout East Asia, Keelung’s Ghost Festival has been crowned as Taiwan’s most bombastic and unique, where open-air busses dressed up in multi-colored designs parade the streets and large “water lanterns” are set ablaze and cast into the sea.

主普壇|Main Salvation Altar
主普壇|Main Salvation Altar

自19世紀中以來,中元祭對在地人來說是備受期待的年度盛事,而之所以會稱此期間為「鬼月」是因為許多家庭會在這時節虔誠地迎接已逝的祖先「回家」。

It has remained a highly anticipated yearly event for locals since the mid-19th century, with many families paying their fair share to showcase their devotion, and inviting the spirits of their ancestors back from the afterlife if only for a month, hence the name “Ghost Month” (鬼月).

拼圖從左到右,水燈、美國學生Greg、廟口夜市攤販 。(The China Post)
拼圖從左到右,水燈、美國學生Greg、廟口夜市攤販 。(The China Post)

然而,身為外國人聽到這裡,可能不免俗聯想到萬聖節,然而,這個節日與萬聖節有極大的差異。當地不僅會殷勤地點燈、播放音樂和大肆慶祝,基隆的夜市更是熱鬧,每一間攤販前擠滿當地居民和來自世界各國一同共襄盛舉的遊客。

Non-Taiwanese should resist any temptation to equate these festivities with Halloween, however. Local customs not only double-down on their commitment to lights, music, and ceremonious revelry, but Keelung’s main night market also bustles with locals and tourists feverishly scanning through each food stall.

拼圖,宗親會花車遊行(右)、水燈準備下水(左)
拼圖,宗親會花車遊行(右)、水燈準備下水(左)

如果你來到此地,千萬別錯過第31攤的滷肉飯、芋頭甜品、地瓜點心、海苔和新鮮海鮮料理,搭配各式各樣的奶茶更是慶祝節慶和消暑的最佳搭配。

Don’t miss the best braised pork rice from stall No. 31, sweets made from taro, sweet potato and even seaweed, dishes made from freshly caught fish and, of course, a wild variety of milk teas to hold back the mid-summer heat.

今年中元祭從9月1日開始,而我這次參加的My Taiwan Tour大力推薦以下三個好玩行程和地點:主普壇、基隆廟口夜市以及附近的街道和八斗子的放水燈活動。

This year, the festivities begin on Sep. 1, and our guide from My Taiwan Tour has highly recommended to experience three locations — the Main Salvation Altar (主普壇), Miaokou Night Market (廟口夜市) and the surrounding city streets and finally, the burning of water lanterns at Badouzi (八斗子).

另外,9月2日主普壇也會舉辦「辦桌」供大家與祖先們一同饗宴。觀光客可以來到這座山頂廟口參與這場盛宴,但是要切記不要帶香蕉(台語:招)、李子(台語諧音:你)或水梨(台語:來)以免好兄弟吃得太開心,捨不得離去。

However, a large banquet is also held at the Main Salvation Altar on the following day Sep. 2 to welcome and “dine” with ancestral spirits who have come from afar to visit family members.

Visitors are encouraged to reach this mountain-top temple and observe the lively, scarlet-colored feast for themselves; but just remember, no pears, bananas, plums allowed because it might cause the ghosts to overstay their welcome!

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