It's complicated, really complicated, so I will try to make this sound simpler. Taiwan is a religious place. Not religious-run state kind of religious, nor Mormon way of being religious. It's religious on the folk cultural aspects. Lots of cultural religious rituals and ceremonies. Lot's of "divine spirits". These are different from Buddha or God. They are more powerful spirits that live in a world above the mortal but is responsible of protecting their human followers and worshipers. These so-called divine spirits can come from human origins or legends. One of the most worshiped goddess was a lady who sacrificed herself in a storm by holding a lantern at the fishing port so that fisherman can see where the coast was, so folks in Southern China coastal area worship her. Many of these divine spirits were once heros, or people who represented an ideology. Superstitious or not, I enjoy it for the colors, sounds, graphics, performance, festivals and the fact that it humbles people. The following was taken at a major temple that worships an important divine spirit that were once the top government officials back in the Ming dynasty. People establish smaller "branches" in various locations and occasionally, those "branch-representative" divine spirits come back to the HQ to pay respect to the big guy, like how managers feel that it's important to visit the corporate HQ to not feel being forgotten. They will attach themselves onto chosen human bodies and perform rituals on their way into the temple. So the main guys in the photos are supposedly possessed at that moment, thus do not feel the pain from bleeding. It's complicated, and I am not going to try to rationalize it. This is the beauty of it I guess. Faith. Lastly, drum performance by one of those "branches" and a kid on the borderline between finding it noisy and awesome. Applause at the end of it.