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Chinese sea goddess embarks on visit to Thailand for cultural exchanges

(Xinhua)    14:48, November 13, 2019

UZHOU, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- A ferry carrying the statue of Mazu, an ancient Chinese sea goddess, set sail on Wednesday morning from Meizhou Island in the city of Putian, east China's Fujian Province, marking the start of a seven-day trip by Mazu to Thailand.

With drums beating, thousands of locals in red voluntarily lined up along the road to the quay to pay their tributes and see their beloved idol off for the Southeast Asian country.

As scheduled, Mazu left the island for the coastal city of Xiamen by ferry and bus. In Xiamen, she will stay for the night before flying to Bangkok on Thursday.

In Thailand, Mazu will attend a sequence of cultural exchange activities. Two other fairy figures that traditionally protect Mazu also travel with her.

Mazu is widely worshiped in Taiwan and other coastal regions of south China, and her believers are also found in some eastern and southeastern Asian countries.

In 2009, Mazu belief and customs were inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Mazu is the deified form of a devoted young woman named Lin Mo, who lived in the tenth century, dedicated herself to helping those in need, and died attempting to rescue shipwreck victims.

Inspired by Mazu's dedication, followers believe that Mazu could help bring peace, fortune and good luck. It is estimated that the number of Mazu followers around the world has exceeded 300 million.

"Mazu belief and customs are an integral part of the Chinese culture," said Lin Jinzan, chairman of the Meizhou Mazu Ancestral Temple. "Through cultural exchange activities like this, we want to carry forward and spread Mazu's spirit of integrity, kindness and love all around the world."

In 2017, Mazu made her Southeast Asian tour to Singapore and Malaysia, and in 2018, the sea goddess visited the Philippines.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Shi Xi, Bianji)

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