INCENSE RACE: People lined up early on to join the races at temples across the nation, with the winners believed to enjoy the best luck of the year
/ Staff writer, WITH CNA
Temples across the nation were crowded with devotees on the first day of the Lunar New Year yesterday, praying for prosperity and well-being in the Year of the Rooster.
Some people had lined up early on Lunar New Year’s Eve to take part in the “incense race” held at some of the nation’s best-known temples, including the Jenn Lann Temple （鎮瀾宮） in Taichung’s Dajia District （大甲）, Yonglian Temple （湧蓮寺） in New Taipei City’s Lujhou District （蘆洲） and the Nanyao Temple （南瑤宮） in Changhua City.
The incense race is an annual tradition, where worshippers would race to offer the first incense stick when temples open their doors at 11pm on Lunar New Year’s Eve, which people in ancient times regarded as the beginning of the day.
It is believed that those who put the first incense stick in the temple burner will have the best luck of the year.
Many also took advantage of the warm and sunny weather yesterday to practice the Lunar New Year custom of zouchun （走春）, or “spring walk” — meaning to take a walk to make courtesy calls to relatives and friends or visit temples and scenic places.
According to the Central Weather Bureau, most of the nation had partly sunny weather yesterday, with occasional rain in the coastal areas of northern Taiwan and the mountainous and coastal areas of eastern Taiwan.
Daytime highs reached 25°C to 27°C in the sunny western half of Taiwan and 24°C to 25°C in the partly cloudy east, it said.
The weather is forecast to turn wet and cold across the nation on Tuesday under the influence of seasonal northeasterly winds, with temperatures in the coastal areas of northern Taiwan projected to drop to 13°C to 14°C, former bureau director-general Daniel Wu （吳德榮） said.
Seasonal winds are forecast to weaken by Friday when the weather warms up, with only eastern Taiwan expected to see sporadic showers, Wu said.