Statues of three Chinese deities created buzz on social media after they were spotted on an airplane traveling business class on a flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The three deities were flown from China's port city of Xiamen and will reportedly travel to Singapore and Malaysia as part of a cultural exchange program to celebrate a festival in the goddesses’ name.
Chinese sea goddess Mazu (also known as Matsu), who is believed to be a protector of fishermen and sailors, along with her two heavenly guardians Qian Li Yan and Shun Feng Er, were spotted traveling on the plane.
The trip was organized by the Meizhou Mazu Ancestor Temple in China and each of the tickets cost the temple 2,091 yuan ($307) each.
According to the temple staff, the religious statues were escorted by "a delegation of more than 130 people" and brought onto a Xiamen Airlines flight heading to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
“This is the body of our divine goddess, a symbol of Chinese folk culture," said temple staff.
Keeping the comfort and safety of the deities in mind, the airline staff fastened them into the first row seats. In case of turbulence, special harnesses were placed to keep their feet firmly on the seats.
The airline also issued special passport to the statues.
“This is basic respect we have for the culture of Goddess Mazu. They were also more than 6 ft. high, so they had to fly business class,” said a spokesperson who received the statues in Malaysia.
Before boarding the plane, the statues made a very long journey. They came from, what is known to its worshippers as being the birthplace of goddess Mazu, a sacred temple which is located off the shores of Fujian province.
The sacred deities are currently in Malacca city and will now make their way to Singapore before returning back to China.