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In recent years, whenever you arrive at or leave the four islands by boat, the most impressive landmark on the island is the local palace and temple architecture. Qiming Palace of Dongji Island, Chiwang temple of Dongyuping, and Huaniang temple of Xiyuping are all built on the side of the pier, facing directly to the ocean. The people in Penghu including the four southern islands, have been considered to believe in both ghosts and witches since ancient times. If you have a disease, you don't ask about medicine, but only ask God for divination. What kind of environmental factors contribute to such customs and folklore?

At noon on April 19, 2019, we took a fishing boat from Dongji to Dongyuping, Unexpectedly, the weather changed instantly on the sea when we were about to arrive at Dongyuping. The squall line divides the sky into two areas, gray and dark. Just as we were amazed by the spectacle in front of us, dark clouds suddenly appeared and rained heavily in no time. The surrounding seas became violent and turbulent. All our members hurriedly hid into the narrow cabin. In the violent storm, the sea continued to set off turbulent waves and the ship was violently up and down. A ship in a violent storm is like a fallen leaf struggling in the turbulent waves and maybe subverted and swallowed by the waves at any time. While everyone's spirits were full of fear with a terrified white face and prayed continuously for the blessings of the gods and Buddha. The captain, however, calmly manipulated the rudder with proficient skills along with the waves to approach the pier and finally reached Dongyuping safely. The group went ashore and immediately rushed to the Chiwang temple of Dongyuping to paid homage to the Lord of the temple and the gods, thanking the gods for their blessing.

This trip made us deeply understand the reason why the temples on the four islands are always located on the pier. The islanders built temples on the pier to let the gods guard the lives and lives of the fisherman and protect the residents on the island as well. The island’s resources have been lacking for a long time, and it has to face the challenge of the harsh external environment. Therefore, as described in the “Custom section” of "History of Penghu", people in Penghu believe in ghosts and practice witches. If there is a disease, they don't ask for medicine, but only ask for divination." Actually, it implies the inner life culture of the islanders.

 

According to the investigation of fieldwork, the religious beliefs of the four southern islands are dominated by local witchcraft that is close to primitive religion, and "folk beliefs" are a mixture of animistic beliefs.

In addition to building temples to worship the gods and Buddhas of various parties, there is also the belief in "gongzi" that expresses regional characteristics. Gongzi is a small temple which local people worship the dead for a certain purpose.

 

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Note: Squall line is sometimes called line squall, which refers to a kind of medium to small-scale strong convective weather with sudden changes in wind direction and wind speed formed by bands of thunderstorms, which usually accompanies or precedes the cold front. The dangerous phenomena when the squall line crosses the border suddenly changes in wind direction, increase in wind speed, rise in air pressure, and in temperature changes.

It may also be accompanied by thunderstorms, heavy rain, hail, strong straight winds, tornadoes, and sea tornadoes.

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