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The site of this temple was originally known as Baxamboy Island as it was surrounded by the sea. The first main inhabitants of this area were the Ping Pu tribe. This area was subsequently cultivated by the Chinese Han, the Dutch and the Japanese. A map drawn by the Dutch in the 17th century shows the existence of a temple on the island, which is thought to be the site we are on today. Initially this site was dedicated to worship of the Goddess Matzu.

Sihcao Dajhong Temple gained significance as it became a site to bury and show respect to the soldiers who fell in the first war between the Dutch and the Koxinga (Han Chinese). Given its location it was also a natural place for villagers to pay respects to those who lost their life at sea. Sihcao Dajhong Temple translates as the “Temple of the People” in honour of the dead. Local people also call it the “The Sicao Temple or “Da Jiang Temple” (The Great General’s Temple). As the first documented reference was the Emperor's request to rebuild the temple in 1700 AD (early Ching dynasty) we are now looking at over 300 years of history.

The temple is dedicated to the worship of the Jhenghai Yuanshai, Commander-in-Chief of the Gods’ Forces. The temple’s association with Jhenghai Yuanshai is often connected with the legend of Chen-Yo, an 18th century native of Tainan City. He was an energetic and diligent porter whose mythology grew from a story that he pushed a stranded ship into the sea. As part of the military he made a special contribution to suppressing a revolt in 1721. His upright, honest and scrupulous administration of the troops resulted in becoming the highest ranking Taiwanese officer in the Qing dynasty. His enemies at home cast aspersions on him to the Emperor and damaged his reputation to such an extent that he committed suicide. His dead body was supposed to have floated on the sea to Baxamboy Island. When the Emperor heard his story he bestowed the title of Commander-in-Chief of the Gods’ Forces on Chen-Yo thereby deifying him and also instructed that he should be worshipped at the Sihcao Dajhong Temple. He is the first deified native Taiwanese.

The Baxamboy Island was significant since its position allowed it to control the Lu-Er-Men Harbour to the North, and the An-Ping Harbour to the South of Tainan City. Since these are the gates to the ancient capital of Taiwan both harbours were bustling with boats. By 1971 the Zhenwen River changed its course which reduced the population in the Baxamboy Island. The Japanese brought economic activity and an increase in traffic with the development of the Ansun salt pan in 1917. During this time the temple became a dominant religious centre in the Taijian area. Local people see Jhenghai Yuanshai as the god of Taijian and believe he rescues people from disaster and blesses all visitors with good luck.

During both the Ming and Ching Dynasties the temple was managed by a temple attendant appointed by the local governor. During the Ching dynasty there was a series of recorded restorations. When the Japanese substantially rebuilt the temple in 1926 they followed the original style. The villagers of Sitsao subsequently funded a substantial renovation in 1961. In 1984 the building was demolished to construct a new style of building. An investment of over NT$ 100m and three years of work led to the temple you see here today. At the end of the construction the God was ceremonially returned to his “palace”.

In addition to Jhenghai Yuanshai, Commander-in-Chief of the Gods’ Forces other deities are also worshiped at this temple. They include, the Sage Pioneer Saints, Guanyin (the Goddess of Mercy), Zhu Sheng Niang Niang (the Fertility Goddess), Lady Lin Shui (Goddess of child birth), Nezha (the Marshall of the Central Altar), the Tudigong (the Earth God), the Xuan Tian Shang Di (the God of Heaven) and Matzu (the Goddess of the Sea). There are three effigies of Matzu and the one with the red face, a gift from China, is particularly noticeable. During an extensive tour by the Beigang temple, with Jhenghai Yuanshai in the vanguard, one of the other effigies of Matzu was presented to the temple.
The Dajhong Temple regularly cooperates with the Government during religious festivals. One notable event, a cultural festival for Jhenghai Yuanshai, ran for six days and five nights during which time people felt touched by miraculous experiences. The 15th day of the lunar calendar is the birthday of the Jhenghai Yuanshai Commander-in-Chief of the Gods’ Forces that culminates in the cultural festival of the Taijian God.

Sitsao Temple annual events

1.

New Year greetings

First month of the lunar calendar

Celebratory activities to welcome in the New Year

2.

The birthdays of the God of Heaven and Matzu

3rd of March in the lunar calendar

Birthday ceremony

3.

Commander-in-Chief of the Gods’ Forces patrol

About the middle of the lunar calendar

Procession

4.

Ghost month festival

15th July in the lunar calendar

Mass worship

5.

Jhenghai Yuanshai  Commander-in-Chief of the Gods’ Forces’ and Sage Pioneer Saints’ birthdays

Beginning to the 15th November in the lunar calendar

Birthday ceremony

6.

Matzu ceremonial visit to the Beigang Matzu Temple

23rd March in the lunar calendar year of the Ox, Dragon, Sheep and Dog

  電話:06-2841610 傳真:06-2840846 地址:台南市安南區大眾路360號 [交通路線] E-mail:da.jhong@yahoo.com.tw
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