Located west of Keelung Harbour, this temple was previously a public grave before it was moved here during Japanese colonial rule and turned into a temple. Laodagong (老大公) is a respectful name for martyred ancestors. The temple is where the Gates of Hell are ceremoniously opened and later closed during the famous Keelung Ghost Festival in the seventh month of the lunar year.
During the seventh lunar month, Keelung is host to Taiwan’s most renowned Ghost Festival, a fascinating mix of Taoist and Buddhist beliefs and rituals. The festival lasts the entire month (usually August or September), and each year a different Keelung clan is chosen to sponsor the events. Highlights include folk-art performances, the opening of the Gates of Hell and the release of burning water lanterns.
Keelung’s festival began in the mid-19th century as a way to bridge the rift between feuding groups of Hoklo immigrants. However, the belief in ghost month is widespread in Chinese culture. According to popular beliefs, during this month ‘hungry spirits’ (or ‘good brethren’ as they are also called) roam the earth and must be appeased and sated with elaborate banquets, festivities and a whole lot of ghost paper burning (asthmatics should seriously be very careful around this time).
Get off the bus at Ministry of National Defence Welfare Centre (國軍福利中心站) and walk up the slope for three minutes then you can reach the temple.
[老大公廟/Lǎo dàgōng miào]
-Located in: Northern Taiwan
-Features: Historical Site, Traditional Activities, Temples
-Highly recommend to: History Buffs, People who love Taiwanese traditional activities
-Address: No. 37, Ln. 76, Leyi Rd., Anle Dist., Keelung City, Taiwan