Thursday, October 18, 2012

Crazy Eights - Some More King Boat Photos

Not the greatest photo of me, but whatever

I won't go into the history of what bajiajiang (八家將), or the "Eight Infernal Generals" (also known as 家將團) are - LiefinTaiwan has already covered that and you can go read his excellent post if you are curious. For the uninitiated, they're the guys you see in temple parades with weapons and face paint who do demonstrations in front of temples. Locals will often tell you they "catch ghosts" and are "the god's guards", which is an interpretation I quite like for its simplicity. They won't talk to you, generally, because they're acting as bajiajiang and not "themselves" while in a procession, but during King Boat some rules tend to be relaxed because they're asked to participate in a temple parade that is, in essence, a week long. You'll see them doing things they shouldn't, like smoking, drinking, talking on cell phones, sleeping and pointing at foreigners (I have a great photo from 2009's King Boat in which this happened - will try to find it and post it for you). None talked to me, but many reacted to me and happily posed for photos: something that rarely happens. Often for posed photos the leader of the group has to get them to do something.

I'll just note quickly before I jump into more photos that, in my experience, temple parades in southern Taiwan tend to be heavier on bajiajiang - at least King Boat is - whereas in the north you see more 三台子 (the child gods - the ones who are fat, often have blue hair and dance to techno music in parades), tall gods (the tall costumes built around light bamboo frames that tower over their wearers and depict 七爺,八爺,千里眼,順風耳 and more)...although you will see both in both places.

Another thing more common during King Boat and rarely seen in Taipei is the practice of blessing parade-goers. If you want the bajiajiang to bless you, you crouch in the street - wait for a line to form of street-crouchers and get in it if you want to try this) and they walk on either side of you with their weapons held over you. At the end you'll get a paper, usually yellow, for good luck/to ward off bad spirits. I participated this year and in 2009 but didn't get a photo.

So, below - some  bajiajiang, some other photos, just random good stuff.

Joseph Firewalks

I love the aesthetic style of nighttime temple parades, especially in the south

another notable feature of King Boat is that a lot of child bajiajiang perform in the affairs

"If I could move to Donggang and still do what I do, I would." "Because the oysters are good?" "Yes." "That's an interesting reason." "Hey, there are worse reasons to move. Like 'my company told me to, so now I'm moving from Des Moines to Peoria from this glass-and-steel-building to that steel-and-glass building, from a beige cubicle to an off-beige cubicle".

"My idol's got a computer monitor!"

1 comment:

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Foreign Operations Planner
Eatgo Limited Company 異客股份有限公司