(Photo is from Arkun's flicker photo album.)
Just like what Backlight53 said:
Based on Mei-Rong Lin's research, Matsu is the deity most commonly worshipped by Taiwanese people. Matsu's birthday falls on the 23rd day of the third month in the lunar calendar. All the worship activities are held shortly before and after this date. Activities related to the Matsu's inspection tour are very hot, and more and more young people join these activities these years.
What people do in Matsu's inspection tour? Based on backlight53's words:
In 2006, National Youth Commission held a workshop about the belief in Matsu and brought interested young people to join Da-Jia Matsu's inspection tour in central Taiwan. In this special inspection tour, the believers walk eight days (4/21-4/29 this year) for about 300 km. They only eat vegetarian dishes and sleep in temples.
Nycfour in Da-Jia Matsu inspection tour youth exploration group blog talked about the importance of the inspection tour to people who believe in Matsu:
Because Matsu has very strong social influence in Taiwan, there are some rituals that represent the competition among the local powers. For example, before the inspection tour, local powers would compete for the first incense. In some areas, the group winning the first incense is the most powerful group. In some areas, people even try to ‘rob’ Matsu because they believe Matsu will protect the area where she is located.
Hsiu-Tsen in Da-Jia Matsu inspection tour youth exploration group blog talked about what they saw in the ‘robbing Matsu':
Da-Jia Matsu's inspection tour attracted many people. However, it was not the case decades ago. Based on I-Chun's article:
What makes Da Jia Xhen Lan temple feels it is superior than other Matsu temples in Taiwan? Based on Kuo-Chou Huang's article, Da Jia Xhen Lan temple brought their Matsu to China in 1987 because the belief in Matsu is originally from China. Thereafter, they think they are more orthodox than others.
Some people think that even though we do not consider how Chinese culture revolution destroyed the belief in Matsu in China, there is difference between Matsu belief in China and Taiwan.
Based on Mei-Rong Lin's research,
When some people argued about the political powers behind Matsu, many people only consider Matsu as a religion, like other religions.
The movie ‘Island Etude’ has its own blog. The author EtudeBike talked about Matsu in their movie:
‘We will see what we want to see’ is very suitable to describe what religion is. Although I am not in Taiwan, and I cannot say I am a believer of Matsu, I still watched the movie about Matsu inspection tour happily. I believe in Matsu, because I believe in the people who believe in her.