Chupu Altar and Keelung Mid-Summer Ghost Festival Museum
On my previous post, I promised to write a separate story about my adventure in Zhong Zheng Park in Keelung which eventually led me to Chupu Altar and the museum at the first floor which is called Mid-summer Ghost Festival Museum.
Before I write about my funny escapade let me share some basic information about the place. However if you want entertainment and feel good, I suggest you skip these informative sections and paragraphs and go directly to the photo section where I wrote my kinda hilarious experience😂😂😂
The Mid-summer Ghost Festival Museum formerly Keelung Folk Custom Museum is located on the first floor of main salvation altar or Chupu Altar in Keelung Zhong Zheng Park.
During the early times, the Mid-summer Soul-salvation Festival ceremony was held in order to soothe the soul of ancestors who came to Keelung to explore. At present the Mid-summer Ghost Festival has become the most important celebration in the city.
To ensure that the younger generation and more people understand Mid-summer Ghost Festival ritual and it’s historical origin, the museum was constructed in 1976, of which the most important function is to recreate the ritual in Mid-summer Ghost Festival period. On non-festival activity periods, the Mid-summer Ghost Festival Museum’s role is to transfer knowledge.
The museum was divided into exhibition areas like vivid salvation rice carving district, worship ceremony flow area, ritual venue god statue and ritual instrument area, folk entertainment district and movie screening zone. Again the aim is to establish clear, rich Mid-summer Ghost Festival ritual and cultural knowledge systems, continue and extend the 161-year heritage of Keelung Mid-summer Ghost Festival.
Here are your information that you should know which of course I didn’t know at first because I discovered this by fate hahaha
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9:00 – 17:00 (Museum is closed on Mondays.)
Address: No.280, Xin 2nd Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Keelung City 202, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Traffic Information: If you stay in Taipei you can take the bus No. 201, 202, 203 and get off at the Agency Hospital, then walk via Shoushan Road to reach it.
My hilarious story goes like this ……..
So how did I came across this museum? It wasn’t really planned, I was in Keelung staying at my cousins place, since she is working I decided to explore the city alone after we had brunch.
I was walking along ZhongZheng road when I saw this gate and the signage says its a park, cause I love parks and nature, naturally I decided to enter and climb the staircases! There was no warning it was high tho hahahaI thought I already reached the top of the park only to find out that this is just the first level, it is actually divided into 3 sections. So I first looked around, took a brief rest (brief is like 30mins to me 🤪) and snapped some photos oh well saw three huge and friendly dogs… I pet them too.I kept on climbing, under the scorching heat of the sun! Glad I wore light coloured clothes, pair of sneakers, baseball cap and sunglasses to protect me.I think I reached the second level but the place look desolated! It is actually eerie… I was hesitant to continue as I did not see or hear a single soul…but because I saw and was attracted to this golden dragon statue that looks neglected I pushed on😂I even posed in-front of this luck bearer though I was sweating profusely.. who cares anyway, nobody can see me taking a selfie… well now you’ve seen my self portrait😂 What do you think? I think the dragon was laughing and staring at me 😂Since Dragon is a luck sign I decided to pursue my exploration of what seemed to be an abandoned castle, I kept on walking until I saw this blockage, I peered on the holes and thought why not go around and look for access, somehow there must be a doorway leading inside the colourful building..My persistence didn’t fail me, I saw this hallway which is abandoned yet clean.. I continued to walkAnd…. viola! Saw this very low entrance leading to a bigger space, was wondering if this structure was built for small people, even a hobbit will have to watch his head if he wish to pass through! Anyway, as long as no crawling required… I shall enter with head bowed and back low hahahahaSo….I reached the main hallway which leads to the entrance of the museum. At first I didn’t know that this place is the Chupu Altar and that I am at the Mid-summer Ghost Festival museum! How I would I know? There was no signage not a single one, plus the castle looks abandoned really!!! It needs major repair I guess… I didn’t use google map while exploring… why because am having fun exploring and getting surprised! Yeah I know… I also have to budget my internet access for 1-wk stay in Taipei 😂Going back to the story, I went inside the building and still no Single soul to greet me, saw these flyers…. and that’s the only time I found out that it’s the Mid-Summer Ghost Festival Museum… I found it amusing because the name is so apt… no people… very quiet and eerie place… maybe the crew here are real ghosts!!!’ 😂😂😂😂 oh geezzz… am still cracking up while writing this!!! Imagine how I feel and look while I was there 😜😅😂
Thinking about ghosts, to be honest I was a little scared but the air conditioning made me brave!!!! Darn it was so hot and humid outside that I was so thankful that this is an air-conditioned room. I can ignore all the Ghosts staring at me for a cool air 😂😂😂😂
Ok guys, aside from the cool air am a history and culture buff too…i decided to stay longer read about the festival and the culture of old Keelung? Took photos too just in case you want to know more…also I don’t wanna bore you with too much historical stuff. I am writing to entertain you not bore haha
After reading all those information, I inspected the displays which are very colorful and interesting.
The ghost festival has different origins but here the festival is practiced by both Religions, Taoism and Buddhism. Anyway I was was engrossed looking at the statues of the Three Officials of Realms (Gods or deities of the Realm) and also those that I cannot remember anymore😂 All I can say is these statues are work of art!
Oh this is me trying to be brave so I took a selfie in front of a huge mirror down the exhibition hallway… see how dimly lighted the place it giving it a mysterious effect.. and really why place a huge mirror at the end of the hall?These are the statues of various gods that they pay homage to. Again these statues are really elaborate and a work of art.Part of the celebration is to offer food during the festival and guess what… preferable these should be vegetarian! Now that the reason why I longed longer in this exhibit, I was checking out the meals offered. I think I would want to observe this festival someday. One reason is…well the vegetarian meal 😉After spending about an hour or more inside the museum, the exhibition hall is not reall huge and guests are not allowed to explore the second and third level of the altar tho.. I went out and marvel on the grandiose structure which I didn’t realise on the initial exploration cause I came from the backdoor😂At the front yard, I was able to take a bird’s eye view of entire Keeling City especially the port. It is a good spot to take photos and watch the ships while docked in the port.The Princess Cruise liner docked at Keelung Port that day, from afar it still look huge.At last i was able to take a look at the altar/ castle’s front. The structure is huge actually and very colorful. This even look grandiose during mid-summer festival especially at the evening. So the long, sweat, tiring and scary walk was worth it. The design of the was worth the trip!
I continued my exploration after this one and I shall continue the story on my next posts 🙂 I hope you were entertained with my anecdote and learn from it hahahaha don;t follow my route… instead consult Mr. Google or better yet get a map from the tourism office. Cheers!