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Mazu: An Overview of Etymology, Attributes, Family Tree, and Mythology

Mazu, also known as Matsu, is a Chinese sea goddess who is revered as the patron deity of sailors, fishermen, and travelers. She is the deified form of Lin Moniang, a shamaness from Fujian who is said to have lived in the late 10th century. According to Chinese mythology, Mazu is closely associated with the goddess of mercy, Guanyin, and is known for her protective and benevolent nature.

The name Mazu can be split into two parts: “ma” and “zu.” The first part, “ma,” is the Chinese word for “mother,” while “zu” means ancestor. Together, Mazu means “Ancestor Mother” or “Eternal Mother.” Her worship is widespread in China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia, where many temples and shrines have been built in her honor.

Mazu is often depicted as a beautiful young woman dressed in a red robe, holding a rosary and a scroll. She is believed to have the power to calm storms and protect sailors from danger. Mazu’s mythology is rich and complex, and includes stories of her miraculous deeds and her interactions with other deities and spirits.


Mazu is a Chinese goddess who is primarily associated with the sea. She is also known as Matsu and is revered as the patron goddess of sailors, fishermen, and travelers. In Chinese mythology, Mazu is closely linked with the goddess of mercy, Guanyin, and is considered to be one of the most important deities in the pantheon.

The name Mazu is derived from the Chinese words “ma” meaning mother and “zu” meaning ancestor. She is often portrayed as a compassionate and benevolent goddess who protects those who are in peril on the sea. Her legend is deeply rooted in Chinese folklore and has been passed down through generations.

Mazu is said to have been born in the 10th century in Fujian province, China. Her family was involved in fishing and she was known for her ability to predict the weather and protect sailors from harm. Her legend tells of her saving her family from a typhoon by using her powers to calm the storm and guide them safely to shore.

Today, Mazu is still widely worshipped throughout China and other parts of the world. Her temples are often located near the coast and are popular destinations for travelers seeking her protection and blessings. Mazu is also celebrated during the annual Mazu Festival, which is held in her honor and attracts millions of visitors each year.


Mazu is the name given to the Chinese goddess of the sea. The name Mazu has several meanings, including “mother ancestor,” “mother goddess,” and “mother of the sea.” The name is derived from the Chinese words “ma” and “zu,” which mean “mother” and “ancestor,” respectively.

The goddess Mazu is also known by other names, including Tianhou, which means “queen of heaven.” In some regions of China, she is also known as Matsu or Matzu. The name Matsu is derived from the Fujianese dialect, which is spoken in the southeastern province of Fujian.

The origins of the goddess Mazu are shrouded in mystery, but it is believed that she was originally a mortal woman who lived in the 10th century. According to legend, she was born on Meizhou Island, off the coast of Fujian, and was known for her compassion and her ability to predict the weather. After her death, she was deified and became the patron goddess of sailors, fishermen, and travelers.

Overall, the name Mazu has come to represent a powerful and benevolent force that protects those who venture out onto the sea. Her name is revered throughout China and beyond, and her legacy continues to inspire those who seek her protection and guidance.



Mazu is often depicted wearing a red robe and a golden crown, with a dragon and a phoenix on either side of her. She is also commonly shown holding a tablet with the words “protecting the sea and saving lives” written on it. The dragon and phoenix are symbols of power and prosperity, while the tablet represents her role as a protector of sailors and travelers.


Mazu is believed to have the power to control the weather and calm the seas. She is also said to be able to communicate with sea creatures and to have the ability to heal the sick. Many sailors and fishermen believe that praying to Mazu will bring them good luck and protect them from harm while at sea.


Mazu is worshiped in many different ways, depending on the region and culture. In some places, people offer food and incense to her statues or temples, while in others, they perform elaborate ceremonies and rituals. Mazu’s birthday, which falls on the 23rd day of the third lunar month, is celebrated with festivals and parades in many parts of China and Taiwan.

Overall, Mazu is revered as a powerful and benevolent goddess who watches over those who travel by sea. Her symbols, powers, and worship practices have become an important part of Chinese and Taiwanese culture, and continue to be passed down from generation to generation.

Family Tree


Mazu’s family tree is steeped in legend and myth. According to some sources, she was born to a family of fishermen in the Fujian province of China. Her ancestors, however, are said to have been nobles who served in the imperial court during the Tang Dynasty. Some legends say that her great-grandfather was a general who fought against the Khitan people in the north.


Mazu is said to have had several siblings, including two older brothers and a younger sister. Her brothers, who were also fishermen, taught her how to navigate the treacherous waters of the South China Sea. Her sister, on the other hand, was said to have been a skilled weaver who helped support the family by selling her textiles in the local market.


Mazu is considered the patron goddess of sailors, fishermen, and travelers, and is revered by millions of people around the world. While she is not believed to have had any biological descendants, her influence can be seen in the many temples and shrines dedicated to her throughout China and Southeast Asia. Many of these temples are run by organizations that trace their roots back to the ancient seafaring communities that once relied on Mazu’s protection and guidance.



Mazu is often depicted as a young woman who lived during the Song Dynasty. The legend has it that she was born on Meizhou Island in Fujian Province, China. She was said to have been a gifted healer and was able to predict the weather and the outcome of fishing expeditions. Her powers were so great that she was able to calm the seas and protect sailors from storms and other dangers.

Another legend tells of how Mazu’s mother had a dream in which a goddess appeared to her and told her that she would give birth to a child who would become a great protector of sailors. When Mazu was born, she was said to have been able to speak and to have told her mother that she had come to fulfill the goddess’s prophecy.

Cultural Influence

Mazu has been an important figure in Chinese culture for centuries. She is worshipped by sailors, fishermen, and travelers, who pray to her for protection and safe passage. She is also associated with fertility, and many couples pray to her for children.

Mazu’s influence can be seen in many aspects of Chinese culture, from art and literature to festivals and rituals. Her image is often depicted in temples and shrines, and her name is invoked in songs, poems, and prayers.

Modern Depictions

In modern times, Mazu continues to be an important figure in Chinese culture. She is often depicted in popular culture, such as movies, TV shows, and video games. Her image is also used in advertising and marketing, particularly for products related to travel and adventure.

Despite her modern popularity, Mazu remains a deeply respected and revered figure in Chinese culture. Her legacy as a protector of sailors and travelers continues to inspire and comfort people around the world.