After reading about Longshan Temple on the Senseitions blog (a fantastic journal of East Asian adventures by my globetrotting teacher friends), I made sure to add Longshan Temple to my Taipei itinerary. Good thing I did: not only is it an impressive structure, the place was positively swarming with activity due to the Lunar New Year holiday.
Aesthetically, the temple is beautiful. Check out the detail on one of the dragons that adorn the roof:
But the most interesting thing about the temple was the people that came to worship. My knowledge on the theology/cosmology of Longshan and other Taiwanese temples is a bit thin–according to Wikipedia, “the Temple worships a mixture of Buddhist, Taoist, and folk deities such as Matsu”–but whoever these folks were praying to, they were taking it pretty seriously:
Here’s some video of the action. Be sure to have your sound on; the effect of the droning, unison chanting of thousands of worshippers is truly other-worldly: