Thousands of devotees from both sides of the Taiwan Strait gathered in Meizhou, a seaside resort in Putian of Fujian province, to celebrate the 1,063rd anniversary of the birth of Mazu -- a revered goddess of the sea on Friday.
The goddess, who is said to safeguard fishermen's lives and widely respected in both Fujian and Taiwan, is at the heart of some beliefs and customs, including oral traditions, religious ceremonies and folk practices.
Over 800 Taiwan compatriots, among a large number of worshippers from all over the world, paid homage to the goddess in Meizhou Island, which is believed to be the birthplace of Mazu.
Dressed in traditional clothing and carrying incense, devotees made their way to the altar to pray for peace and prosperity.
Traditional music filled the air as young men and women danced, while seven 25-meter long, colorful silk banners symbolizing a common bond were presented in the ritual.
"As a treasure of Chinese culture, Mazu culture is an important spiritual bond connecting compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait," said Lin Jinzan, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mazu Temple on Meizhou Island, "Mazu has brought people on both sides of the strait closer and closer."