December 13, 2009

Monga。Qingshan King Festival。Secret Night Patrol


“Qingshan King” festival in October of lunar calendar year is the annual event at Monga, also known as “Monga Pilgrimage”. The event lasts for 4 days. The first two days are the night patrol, the third day a parade, and the fourth day Qingshan King’s birthday celebration. The troupes gather and rally around the streets. Faithful believers gather for worshipping. Continuous music and firecrackers make exciting atmosphere throughout the whole day and night…


Located on Guiyang Street, Taipei, Monga Qingshan Temple was established in 1856. The resident deity of the temple is Qingshan King. Qingshan Temple, Longshan Temple, and Taoist Ching Suei Shrine are the three largest temples in Monga. Qingshan Temple is also a Grade Three historic site.


According to the legend, a great plague occurred in the Qing dynasty Xianfeng years. Fishermen from Huian County, Quanzhou, Fujian Province asked Qingshan King to come to Monga to stop the plague with its power. With the blessing of the Qingshan King, the sick people came to the temple and became recovered completely. Faithful believers started to raise money to build the temple. The temple has been built for 150 years.


Qingshan King has the power to remove the plague. He is not only a local patron deity, but also a master in the nether world, the same as Cheng Huang Yeh. (City God)


“Secret night Patrol” refers to the deities performing the patrol at night to expel evils, see people’s pain and difficulties, and arrest evils. Because the night patrol is to arrest evils, all house doors need to be closed so that the evils would not get in. Children would be asked to go to bed early, and not to watch it. Now, there is no such a taboo for the evils.


This article is sharing with you on the second day’s event for the night patrol on December, 7 (October, 21 for lunar calendar year). The patrol started at 4:00pm. The route starts at Qingshan Temple, goes around Monga, Ximen areas, and returns to Qingshan Temple.


“Bao Ma Zi” is the pioneer of the night patrol troupe. His duty is to find a path and be a messenger. He also beats a gong to let the people know that the troupe is coming.


“Bao Ma Zi” dresses very unique, wearing a bamboo rain hat and paper umbrella, holding a gong, and wearing a pair of grass shoes. He also has mustache shaped like the character”八” and wears reading glasses. He looks very funny. But all of them have special meanings. For example, the bamboo rain hat is for him not to get wet on the road, the reading glasses for him to judge right and wrong, and the tilted mustache for him responsible to what he says.


“Tou Di Gong Jiao” (Land deity) is following after “Bao Ma Zi” who is the guide of the night patrol troupe.


All different kinds of groups are in the parade.


The large Infernal Generals with elaborate costumes and gaudily painted faces usually take the lead in the Qingshan King Pilgrimage. In the southern Taiwan, the large Generals are called “Spirit General”, and called “Da Xian Wang Zi” in the northern Taiwan. All these large Generals show up in a group, rarely being alone. When Qingshan King shows, you would also see General Xie, (Chi Yeh) General Fan (Ba Yeh), literary judge, and martial judge…etc.


“Da Xian Wang Zi” is about twice tall as the regular people. One person is inside wearing and holding the large costume. They walk large strides with swinging both arms widely to show its prestige.


“Chi Yeh”, and “Ba Yeh” one is short, the other tall, one is black, and the other white. They are the messengers in the nether world. Their duties are to arrest the evils and to maintain order in the nether world. They are the important generals for the night portal troupe.


With the courteous look, the literal judge (photo on the Right) is to decide the good or bad of a person. He is holding a writing brush, and a judgment book. With the prestige look, the martial judge (photo on the Left) is to implement the prisoners’ crime. He is carrying a Five Square Flag in the back and also holding the torture instruments.


“Da Xian Wang Zi” wears a bunch of “salty bagels” on the neck. Those bagels are the symbols of peace. Lots of believers are grabbing bagels for the peace.


Followed the “Da Xian Wang Zi”, “Deacon” is holding the “Long leg Plate”. On these plates are shown the names of each deity, and also the words of “Silence” and “Avoid”. The “Street cleaning porter” is holding a gong. He is to clear the path, clean the dirt and ghost spirits for all the deities.


“Eight officers” are the protectors of Qingshan King. It consists of eight officers and one bottle gourd boy. They hold torture instruments. Four of them are also named “Cangue Officer” and other four “Lock Officer”. “Cangue Officer” wears red with half shoulder showing, and “Luck Officer” green. Eight of them wear official hats with infernal look. According to the legend, the bottle gourd boy was the white crane in his previous life, now is leading the road for “Eight Officers”, also known as “Yinlu Tongzi” (guide the road boy)


“Eight Officers” hold all kinds of weapons, such as, cangue, lock, hammer, large knife, tiger head gear, and nail board…etc.


“Eight Officers” are different from “Eight Generals”. Their face makeups are different. The members in the group are also different. The movement of “Eight Officers” generally is not as strong as that of “Eight Generals’.


“Tou Deng” (Lanterns), “Ma Tou Luo” (Gong), and “Horn troupe” are coming before the arrival of Qingshan King.


At last, here is the Qingshan King‘s sedan chair


In order to have the King stay longer, temples welcome them with horn troupes and firecrackers.


The last stop of the night patrol is to return to Qingshan temple. A ceremony is held for “Da Xian Wang Zi” to jump over the fire in the temple front. “Jump over the fire” means cleaning. The deity’s jump over the fire can get rid of evils, and believers jumping over the fire can bring peace.


The return of the “Da Xia Wang Zi” brings a huge crowd in the Qingshan temple.


The return of the Qingshan King to Qingshan temple marks the end of the night patrol event. Read More


dennis said...

nice pics and detailed descriptions of the process and the deities :)

Fili said...

wow! I love this stuff. This is what makes Taiwan -the- place for me.

Thanks for sharing that.

kristen and micki said...

This was the first time we attended the festival. We were not familiar with the Pilgrimage process. However, we spent lots of time searching information after the event, and very limited information is available online. Although it was time consuming, I learned a lot from it. It is my pleasure to share some background information of this festival with everyone! Thanks, Dennis.

kristen and micki said...

Lots of culture and scenery, we will continue to visit, discover, and share the beauty of Taiwan. Thanks, Fili.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Nice pics and informative as usual.

kristen and micki said...

台灣有好多民俗節慶都很有意思,的確挺有趣的! Thanks, londoncalling.

Thanks again, lief :)

steph said...

lovely photos and info
not to mention, bilingual
thanks :)

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