The Taitung County Government has collaborated with the Taitung Mazu Temple to create a “Cute-Style Taitung Mazu Balloon” which lifted into the air on the morning of June 20th for the first time in the Luye Highlands in Taitung. Meanwhile, a press conference was held to announce the world’s first Mazu Balloon’s debut.
Taitung County Magistrate April Yao and Chairman of the Taitung Mazu Temple Lin You-de, among others, were on the balloon’s maiden tethered balloon experience. The Taitung County Tourism Department says that this year’s International Balloon Festival began on June 30th and will continue until August 28th at the Luye Highlands. The Cute-Style Taitung Mazu Balloon will be this year’s main attraction.
The world’s first and currently only Mazu-themed balloon was made in Spain and delivered to Taiwan recently. Yesterday, Tainan Mazu Temple, Chiayi Xingang Mazu Temple, Qishan Mazu Temple, Checheng Fuan Temple, and other sister temples arrived for the celebration. After temple priest Wu Ming-fu prayed a blessing, Magistrate Yao, and Chairman Lin carried Mazu onto the Mazu-themed balloon for the tethered experience.
The Taitung Mazu Temple “Cute Mazu Balloon” is about 30 meters tall, wearing a beaded phoenix crown, a red robe, and holding a golden hu (ritual baton), representing honor and auspiciousness. Her smile and expression are graceful and friendly. Singer Stan Chen was invited to the event, singing songs to Mazu with lyrics of gratitude to mothers and also prayers to Mazu for health and safety. The Mazu Temple also created cute-themed Mazu merchandise, including Mazu-themed balloon lamps, keychains Mazu Lego bricks, and more. The Cute Version Taitung Mazu Balloon is anticipated to create a new wave of Hot Air Balloon craze.