Dressed in mini skirts barely covering their hips, the two girls took to the neon-lit stage and moved vigorously to the loud pumping pop music. Their job: to appease the wandering spirits.
As the temple facade in the background changed colour from the fireworks lighting up the Taiwanese night sky, the show climaxed with pole-dancing and striptease in front of an audience consisting of men, women and children.
"This is hard work but I need to make a living," said 18-year-old En En, out of breath after stripping for the crowd during the recent religious festival.
En En had just earned Tw$3,000 ($100) for her act, which began on stage, but ended as she mingled with the audience, letting men touch her for tips.
Folk religion in Taiwan is a unique mixture of the spiritual and the earthly, and one of its most remarkable manifestations is the practice of hiring showgirls to perform at festivals, weddings, and even funerals.
The girls work on "electronic flower cars" -- specially designed trucks equipped with light and sound equipment that can become a stage, allowing them to travel to performances often held in smaller cities and rural areas.
"The groups attract crowds to our events and they perform for the gods and the spirits to seek blessings," said Chen Chung-hsien, an official at Wu Fu Temple, a Taoist landmark in north Taiwan's Taoyuan county.
"They have become part of our religion and folk culture."
Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn