Friday, November 18, 2011
Qingshan Wang 2011
Every year around this time - based on the lunar calendar - 青山宮 (Qingshan Temple) on Guiyang Street holds its annual celebration. Other temples from around the area come to pay homage to Qingshan Wang (The Lord of Green Mountain), and Qingshan Wang himself makes a circuit of the other nearby temples. The festival usually spans three days, with the biggest processional taking place on the night of the final day. It typically ends between 11pm and 1am.
It's a favorite among campaigning politicians as many of Wanhua's residents turn out to see the festivities.
We try to go every year, which has not gone unnoticed. The day before yesterday our friend Joseph was there and managed to shake hands with a campaigning Tsai Ying-wen (蔡英文). I'm looking forward to his blog post with pictures on that. Some campaign assistant asked him "is this your first time to this festival?" and some local shot back "no, that guy comes every year". To be fair, Joseph kind of sticks out. The year previously, I was jockeying for a good position from which to see the parade and a guy stood in front of me. I complained and he said "we see you every few months at these temple parades. You always get the chance to take pictures, so I don't feel bad for you!"
This year was my favorite so far - we left at about midnight, and it was still going. The highlight of the night was the delegation from the Tiger Temple (虎爺宮) in Xinzhuang (新莊), which I now feel I must visit. People involved with the temple, male and female, wore tiger-striped jackets and yellow headbands, came in shouting "TIGER GRANDFATHER!" (虎爺), "ho ya" in Taiwanese. Apparently this deified tiger has the ability to control ghosts, demons and other celestial bad boys. They piled up firecrackers to about knee height, positioned the idol's palanquin over them and set off the pile. The palanquin looked quite worse for wear. So did the guys.
There were also techno-dancing "god children" (san tai zi), lion dancers, dragon dancers, idols, Eight Generals and the usual contingent of tall gods and short dancing gods (七爺八爺) who have their own story (they were two real-life generals from history who were such good friends that they were like brothers, so when they were trapped under a bridge during a flood, they stayed and drowned together rather than be separated).
I told the story of Qingshan Wang here, back in 2008, and have more posts on this particular festival here, here, and about Hao Lung-bin's appearance at the festival here.
Updated with photos!