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Replacing Joss Paper with Pencil: New Offerings for the God of Literature

The stationary set which is an alternative to burning joss paperTo help limit carbon emission, the Muzha Jiying Temple has joined the list of temples promoting alternatives to burning joss papers when worshipping deities. The temple’s original product “Jiying Wenchang Pencil” is something that test takers praying to Emperor Wenchang (God of Literature) can bring home with them, to be used in future exams.
The Muzha Jiying Temple is an important religious center in Muzha. The patron deities of the institution include the Revered King Baoyi, Cabinet Baoyi and Madame Shenguo. Emperor Wenchang is also worshipped by the faithful, which include large number of students hoping to score high on exams. The Zhuangyuan (Primus) Banquet is a well-known event organized by the temple to honor top achievers.
This year, with strong backings from Chairman Sun of Wenshan District Folk Customs Committee, the temple introduced the “Jiying Wenchang Pencil” stationary set which was inspired by the Kuixing brush. By presenting the stationary as an offering to the gods, students can use the set (includes a pen, 2B pencil, pencil pouch, ruler, and eraser) for their tests in the future. Hopefully, the tools blessed by Emperor Wenchang will bring them good luck.
Civil Affairs Commissioner Lan Shih-tsung expressed his gratitude to the temple authority for supporting the effort of curbing joss paper burning. Not only did the introduction of the stationary highlight the temple’s unique characteristics while helping our environment, but it also attracts young people’s interest which is important for the sustainable growth of religion.
Since 2016, the Department of Civil Affairs has campaigned for the curbing of carbon emission through replacing joss paper with other alternatives. One popular method is substituting joss paper with rice packs. As of May 2020, a total of 43 temples in Taipei City has improvised offering alternatives such as wellness rice, wellness noodles, and cookies.