Thien Hau Temple, Los Angeles
|Thien Hau Temple|
Thien Hau Temple
|Thien Hau Temple, Los Angeles|
|Literal meaning||Heavenly Empress Palace of Los Angeles Chinatown|
|Vietnamese||Chùa Bà Thiên Hậu|
The Thien Hau Temple is a temple dedicated to the Chinese sea goddess Mazu, the deified form of the medieval Hokkien girl Lin Moniang, located in Los Angeles's Chinatown in California, United States. It is one of the more popular areas for worship and tourism among Asian residents in the Los Angeles area. In addition to Mazu, the temple venerates the war god Guan Yu and the earth god Fu De.
The temple is affiliated with the Camau Association of America, a local benevolent, cultural and religious association primarily serving the local Chinese-Vietnamese refugees from Cà Mau Province, Vietnam. The group also supports Chinese, Vietnamese, Teochew and Thai Chinese communities.
The original building of the temple was a former Italian Christian church located within what was formerly Little Italy; the building was purchased in the 1980s. Under a strong faith-based community in and outside of Chinatown, the temple was able to raise a great deal of donated money with which to build a larger temple hall. Construction of the new temple was completed and dedicated on September 2005. A new ancestral memorial hall was consecrated the following month.
Thien Hau Temple is usually festive on the commemoration days of various deities, especially Mazu.
On the eve of Chinese New Year, members from various communities gather to receive blessings and to burn incense in worship of the deities. Lion dancers perform and firecrackers are popped in order to scare away evil spirits. Representatives from over 25 family associations headquartered in Chinatown and other communities are present to light the firecrackers at the stroke of midnight. Since the temple is located within the heart of Chinatown, the temple is often seen as the local "Times Square" to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Many people come to the temple especially during the first week after New Year to receive a blessing for the year. On the concluding day of the New Year celebrations, people come to the temple to pray and beckon Mazu for blessings and protection for the rest of the year.
In recent years, a large amount of non-Asian visitors have equaled the amount of Asian visitors and congregants who assemble at the temple during the New Year celebration.
On weekends and the 1st and 15th day of the lunar calendar, food is provided to the general public for free (with the option to give a donation to the temple). The temple also holds a Ghost Festival ceremony in the summer.