The people in Taiwan believe that collecting cracker papers from god greeting festivals can bring good luck. We recycled the scraps of the Plow Firecrackers set off during Beigang Mazu’s Pilgrimage in Sanxia, and they are made into the only “Plow Firecracker papers” in Taiwan by Goang Horng Shing Paper Mill in Puli Township. The paper mill developed a series of cultural and creative “Beigang Plow Firecracker” products that not only extend the respectful Mazu beliefs, but also integrate the environmental relationship of using the ways of nature to meet the needs of man.
The Taiwanese traditional “bai-qi” custom is practiced when an elder wishes a child could be “easily raised” and grows up peacefully and healthily. The clothing of a child is brought to a temple to pray for a promise and cast moon blocks; if permission is given through the sacred combination of moon blocks, the seal of the temple will be stamped on the clothing or an incense bag will be given to be worn on the child. By following the “bai-qi” custom, Mazu of Beigang Chaotian Temple has prepared the “Gift of Peace” as a present for newborns. The packaging box is made of the scraps of the firecrackers set off during Beigang Mazu Pilgrimage. In the gift box is a suit of baby clothes made of 100% organic cotton and an incense bag for praying to Mazu and asking Her to bless Her godchild to be benevolent and smart, as well as grow up safely and healthily.
According to traditional customs in Taiwan, babies have the habit of carrying an amulet for them to be peaceful, healthy and grow up safely. The Gift of Peace is produced by working with SISSO Organic Cotton. The considerate design for the baby clothes includes a moderate sized pocket for putting an amulet and a pocket cover for preventing the amulet from falling out. The fitting pocket design and the calculated position allow comfort even when babies sleep on their bellies. The products of SISSO Organic Cotton use GOTS certified 100% organic cotton imported from various countries, including Texas, U.S., Turkey and Hungary.
The organic cotton’s warm feeling to the hand is protection and safety. This is the best gift for babies to help them grow up peacefully and healthily.
Beigang Mazu incense bags are hand-made by the grandmothers of “Qian-sui (thousand-year-old) Group” through a twelve-step process. The small incense bags contain the blessings of Mazu. After the clothes are taken out, the outer box can be made into a tumbler coin bank that presents the image of Mazu. This not only allows children to develop the correct way of viewing money but also extends the environmental value of packing boxes made of firecracker scraps.
“Beigang Plow Firecracker”
“Yunlin Beigang Chaotian Temple”, one of the three major Mazu temples in the world, is the center of Mazu beliefs in Taiwan. The iron part of a plowshare is placed on a fire stove, and when the plowshare is heated by the burning charcoal, it is used to ignite firecrackers that are quickly thrown at the palanquins (also referred to as “firecracker eating”). The process is filled with the deafening and powerful sounds of firecrackers, as well as flares and thick smoke. The followers believe that, if the firecrackers sounds are louder, they would have more fortune.
There is another Taiwanese custom for the raw materials of the pulp of packing boxes. It is said that good fortune will be brought if the scraps of the firecrackers set off in god welcoming festivities or business resuming ceremonies are swept to the position of fortune in fengshui. The scraps of the firecrackers set off during Beigang Mazu Pilgrimage are recycled and, through the creativity of the designers of CAN Culture, Art & Nature, made into “Peaceful cultural and creative products”. This not only allows for the extension of the belief in setting off firecrackers, but also enables the religious culture in Taiwan to be connected with the world view of environmental protection.