While studying abroad in Taiwan, the most special tradition I experienced was the Mazu Festival. This festival is a pilgrimage that can last over a week, celebrating the Buddhist Goddess Mazu. Our CIEE leaders Christie and April took us to Zhanghua, where we walked along the street watching the festival participants, members from various different Buddhist sects, setting off firecrackers, dancing around in ornate costumes, and playing music. As we walked, people who lived in the area stood outside their homes offering drinks and food to anyone who passed. In the evening, we were finally able to see the carriage that contained a statue of Mazu. The carriage was carried by eight people on long stilts, and crowds of people rushed forward to touch the carriage to bring themselves good fortune.