Formosans, Religion of The
Formosans, Religion Of The Formosa is a large island in the China Sea, called in Chinese Taiwan, 245 miles in length from north to south, and about 100 miles in breadth at, the broadest part, containing an area of 14,982 square miles. The religion of the islanders is polytheistic in its character, there being recognized among them a plurality of deities, two of whom are regarded as supreme, one of them residing in the north, and the other in the east. The one is a guardian of men, the other, who is a goddess, the guardian of women. They acknowledge also another deity who resides in the north, and is an evil spirit. There are two gods of war, a god of health, a god of forests, and a god of cornfields. They have also household gods, who preside over the several departments of nature. The worship of the gods, which consists of invocations, sacrifices, and libations, is conducted by priestesses called Juibas, who work themselves up to a frenzy, or fall into a trance, during which they pretend to hold familiar intercourse with the gods. The Formosans acknowledge the immortality of the soul, and always erect a bamboo hut for the dwelling of the spirit of a departed relative or friend. They also hold to future rewards. and punishments, but have no idea of the resurrection of the body. An attempt was made by the Dutch in the 17th century to Christianize the island, but without success. They are now in gross heathenism.