Sorry women – this rock in men only. The Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is a sacred Buddhist site that is on top of the golden rock visible behind me. Due to the practice of male monks not being allowed to make physical contact with females, only men are allowed into the inner sanctuary.
Even as a male, the rules are very strict on what I could wear when I went in. I had to take off my sandals and wear a sarong. This is shows respect to the holy site that, according to legend, is balanced on a single strand of Buddha’s hair.
Whether you are a boy or a girl, it is still worth a visit if you are in Myanmar. It is amazing just to look at this rock and marvel at how close to the edge it can be without rolling off the edge.
On January, 30th. 2020, I went to a a very curious tradition in Taiwan.
The Holy Pig (Shen Zu – 神豬) Festival in Sanxia (a traditional district in New Taipei City in northern Taiwan) according to its annual Lunar New Year. Local pig farmers compete to display the largest pig, the winner takes home a trophy every year and they are sacrificed to the local god. The annual festival marks the birthday of the Chinese deity Zushi and was held in a square outside the Zushi Temple. Each year one Clan Family is responsible to host the ceremony, this year (2020) was the Lin. There are a total of 7 clans that host this ceremony, so after 6 years the Lin Clan will host again, after Huang, Chen, Liu and other threes.
Many Holy Pigs up weights near 900 kg whereas a normal pig would weigh only 120 kg. After the sacrifice in the night before their skin is stretched to a metal frame, looking even bigger than the abnormal big animal. A whole pineapple is not forgotten to put into their mouths and a parade starts the next early morning. Some food like a whole chicken and a still alive fish is also part of the feast.
There is a displayed list of each Lin family’s clan with their respective donation made to the temple each year. In the past the feast was for free for all the invitees and the public, but now the pork is sold for more than USD 55/kg.