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Monday, August 8, 2011

Singles seek love at Taiwan temple

Sulaiman Kamal | 3:36 PM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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TAIPEI - Ethnic Chinese mark Valentine's Day on Saturday, according to the lunar calendar.

In Taiwan, many couples are counting down to romantic dinners with loved ones.

But those who are single are flocking to a small temple in Taipei city.

Japanese tourist Takako travelled to Taiwan with hopes to have her wish granted at the Xiahai City God Temple in Taipei.
"I read guidebook about Taipei. And according to the guidebook, this place is good for love, so I come here. I need a boyfriend," she said.

The century-old temple worships Yue Xia Lao Ren, or the God of Matchmaking, who is in charge of marriages.

Every year, tens of thousands of foreigners and locals alike come here, praying to find love.

Titan Wu, a Xiahai City God Temple staff, said: "You need to tell the God your name, birth date, address and what kind of person you're looking for. If you already have someone in mind, then pray for the relationship to go smoothly."

Every worshipper will be given a red string. It's believed to be what the deity will use to tie you to your partner of destiny.

"At each temple, you only request for one red thread. If you ask for two, the God of Matchmaking could get confused," said Wu.

As Ms Chen can attest, the God of Matchmaking is efficacious.

"I came here a year ago, I prayed to find love. And in six months, I found him," she said.

Ms Chen is just one of many who have had their wishes granted.

"Over the past 10 years, we have hooked up over 50,026 couples. Last year alone, there were 6,566 pairs. The year 2008 saw a record of 9,316 couples," said Wu.

This year is no different, with more worshippers flocking to the temple praying for love.

"Since I'm busy with work, so I'm hoping the God of Matchmaking can help me find a nice girl," said one Taiwanese.

Another said: "Right now I'm not seeing anyone. I hope to find a responsible guy."

The God of Matchmaking may be able to help you find love, but it doesn't guarantee you happily ever after. Taiwan has the highest divorce rate in Asia, with over 58,000 marriages ending in divorce last year. So how to keep a marriage going takes more than divine intervention.

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