Postcard of The Week: Penis Worship in Taiwan

Along my travels I’ve come across a lot of interesting statues, monuments, places and things of worship… but definitely not this one!

The first shot is the most decent I could take in-between giggles (mine and the others’ in my group).

We were spending a morning at the Formosa Aborigine Culture Village in central Taiwan – an amazing 150 acre theme park where all aspects of Aborigine life are displayed, from model homes to cultural dances and crafts. As I mentioned before, the Aborigines were the first inhabitants of Taiwan; there are 14 recognized tribes today, with the majority living in the mountains and on the east coast of the island.

This, my friends, represents the God of Fertility. The Aborigine belief is that a woman who wants to get pregnant must “worship the penis” – rub on it a few times for good luck.

Our guide Ivy told me that I shouldn’t just rub it, but hug it. I think she was pulling my leg! Ha! No way, I wasn’t going to stand there and glorify a penis, giant or not, in public no less. Or was I?  Ah hell, even if I definitely wasn’t trying to get pregnant, it was too funny of a photo op to pass up. Some day I might just look back on it and laugh, right? So I hugged, posed and tried not to look silly doing it. Don’t laugh! 

As we walked away, Ivy told me that if it worked, I should tell her so we could come back here to pay respects. She totally freaked me out for the rest of the day… thanks, Ivy!

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Lebawit Lily Girma

Lebawit Lily Girma has contributed writing and photography to CNN Travel, New York Magazine, AFAR, American Way, Travel Channel, BBC Travel, and others. She’s the currrent author of MOON BELIZE for Moon Travel Guides and is completing a second title, MOON BELIZE CAYES. Lily is also AFAR's Jamaica Expert, and author of the AFAR Jamaica Country Guide. A serial expat, she's lived and studied on three continents, including Africa–from her native Ethiopia to Côte d'Ivoire–and Europe, and is fluent in four languages. A former attorney who ditched the office for the road in 2009, she favors all things culture, adventure and storytelling, and escapes Washington DC’s winters every year.

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  1. Yaffa 16 November, 2011 at 3:05 PM #

    LOL…LOL…The Taiwanese Penis!! Who would have thought that a large penis monument would be on display in Taiwan. This is absolutely bizarre Lilly!

  2. holger 16 November, 2011 at 3:09 PM #

    I used Penis in my headline of a blog too a few weeks ago – boosted traffic to 300% for a while … ;-)

  3. Brenda 16 November, 2011 at 3:11 PM #

    See… now this is why I love following your blog… Lord only knows what you’ll be posting next!

  4. Lebawit Lily Girma 17 November, 2011 at 9:46 AM #

    @Yaffa, I think I had to capture it to believe it! LOL.

    @ Holger, hilarious! It’s definitely not one I could avoid using in this case. ;-)

    @Brenda, thanks I take that as a compliment! Haha. Gotta love travel, you just never know what you’ll learn next.

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