God of Earth (土地公)

Fude, which means good fortune and virtue, is the keeper of the ground. Tudigong temples are almost scattered everywhere around Taiwan. Chinese think that there must be a god in every community, who is responsible for blessing the community. Generally, there is an exact origin of a god in folk religions. However, there are some origins of Tudigong. One says that he was the chief exciseman in the Chou Dynasty, who was incorruptible, diligent, and loved the commons, and lived 102 years. After his death, a poor family built a rock house with four large stones to pray to him, and soon, the family became rich. The commons believed that it was a blessing from Tudigong. They therefore gathered funds to build a temple and shape a golden sculpture of him, and honored him as the god of good fortune and virtue. Thus the businesspersons often pray to him for the prosperity of their business. Businesspersons hold a ceremony to pray to him on the second and the fourth days every lunar month, which are called Zuoya, or Yaji. The folks also think he is the god of the land of graves, thus people also pray to him to thank him for guarding the grave land before they go to visit their ancients’ tombs. Tudigong, god of earth, is the god closest to the people.