A Thousand Electric Candles in the Server Room of the Gods

Beacons of light inside a historic Hsinchu temple.

I was out exploring Hsinchu City 新竹市 the other day when I wandered into Zhǎnghé Temple 長和宮, a temple I have previously heard nothing about. It must be rather famous in Taiwan 台灣 given the unusually large collection of guāngmíngdēng 光明燈 (literally beacons of lights) that I found inside. Each light is an electric candle that shines year-round to bestow a blessing on the individual whose name, birthdate, age, and address is inscribed on a card that fits into a slot at the front, a custom that I explored in greater detail in this post.

I shot this particularly stylized photograph with the lousy camera on my smartphone. Usually I would be annoyed at its inability to focus—but in this case I quite like the results, unintentionally shoddy as they are.

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