Red Lanterns Glowing in the Night

Fengyuan’s Nangang Fude Temple 南崗福德祠
After dark at Nangang Fude Temple 南崗福德祠 on the outskirts of Fēngyuán 豐原.

Coming down from the hills of Shígāng 石岡 late one evening I noticed an ordinary shrine to Tudigong 土地公, the land god, by the roadside on the outskirts of Fēngyuán 豐原. There are literally thousands of similar temples scattered all over the nation but the reflection of all those red lanterns on the curved glass of the car parked out front caught my eye. I wonder what its story might be. Every temple has one—though it isn’t always easy to divine.

Now with the benefit of internet access and some time on my hands I’ve been able to puzzle out a few details. This is Nángǎng Fúdé Temple 南崗福德祠, notable for having been damaged, like so many other buildings in this part of Taiwan, by the devastating 921 Earthquake 九二一地震. Unsurprisingly, the local community rallied to rebuild the temple a few years later in 2002. From what I know only the original Wǔchāng Temple 武昌宮 in Nántóu 南投 was left as it was on that fateful morning.

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