By Chan Shih-hung and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writer
Chen An Temple in Yunlin County’s Jioucyong Township （九穹） on Thursday unveiled an effigy of a turtle made from sacks of garlic weighing 6 tonnes at the “birthday” celebrations for Shennong （神農大帝）, the Chinese folk deity of herbal medicine and agriculture.
Shennong’s divine mandate is to ensure bountiful harvests and farmers’ safety, Chen An Temple director Hsu Ching-kuan （許清冠） said.
Garlic was used to make the effigy because of a divine order from Shennong in early January to buy garlic due to the crash in garlic prices, TC Reading Organization Yunlin branch director Chiu Shih-wen （邱世文） said.
The temple also invited a renowned Linnei Township （林內） pastry maker to bake garlic cakes, which were distributed to the first 200 people who participated in the traditional palanquin crawling event, Hsu said.
Crawling under a palanquin bearing the statue of any deity is believed to be an act of devout worship that brings good luck.
The cake maker, known as A-chih （阿智）, learned to make garlic cakes when he was 13 years old, Hsu said, adding that although it has been about five decades since he last made them, A-chih volunteered after learning of the temple’s event and gave a demonstration in front of the temple.