Sat, Jul 28, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Taichung City God warms up for annual inspection tour of city
迎台中城隍祭 陣頭遶境暖場

People gather outside the City God Temple in Greater Taichung to watch folk art performance troupes welcome the god last Saturday.
信眾上週六於台中城隍社區觀看陣頭迎城隍活動。

Photo: Lin Liang-che, LibertyTimes 照片:自由時報記者林良哲

The Taichung City God’s birthday is celebrated every year during the sixth month on the lunar calendar. Last Saturday folk art performance troupes performed at an event for welcoming the City God in the Chenghuang community in the southern part of Greater Taichung. A lion dance troupe and an infernal general troupe performed dance formations for the City God’s inspection tour to start the event, warming up for the main ceremony to come.

The Taichung City God’s birthday is celebrated on the 15th day of the sixth lunar month (August 2 this year), which is when all the local devout worshippers come to worship the City God. The original Taichung City God Temple was built in the eastern part of the city by Liu Ming-chuan, the first governor of Taiwan Province, in 1889, giving the temple a mark of officialdom. When the Japanese took over control of Taiwan in 1895, the temple was occupied by the Japanese imperial army, and the City God deity circulated among local residents until 1922, when one of the local gentry named Lin Tzu-chin and others collected donations to rebuild the temple in the southern part of the city, allowing the deity to return to the temple for worship.

Taichung’s celebration of the City God’s birthday has been a lively local folk tradition since the late Qing Dynasty. The City God will also be taken around the city to patrol Taichung, an event traditionally called the Taichung City God Festival. Over the past several decades the festival was not held, though. It was not until last year that they started holding the event again, albeit on a much smaller scale. A documentary of the festival was made last year to record the event.

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. patrol v.

巡邏 (xun2 luo2)

例: The guards patrolled the border all night.

(衛兵整晚巡邏邊境。)

2. incense n.

香 (xiang1)

例: The ancient Egyptians used incense to please the gods, drive away demons and mask unpleasant odors.

(古埃及人採用香取悅神、驅魔以及遮蔽不良味道。)

3. satisfactory adj.

圓滿的 (yuan2 man3 de5)

例: The trip was quite satisfactory.

(這次旅遊很圓滿。)


Chenghuang Borough Chief Lin Bing-yi says that he hopes this event will evoke the memories of local residents living in the community, allowing the City God to patrol the city and become a representative part of the city’s local culture. That is why this year they are also holding the traditional ceremony known as the “night patrol.” First, a lion dance troupe, an infernal general troupe and a theater troupe perform to commence the ceremony, then a Taoist priest reads incantations to invoke the deity, and finally the deity’s palanquin is carried around the Chunghsiao Night Market area for an inspection of the city.

When the event commenced last Saturday, pious worshippers were undeterred by the torrential rain, and the entire ceremony turned out to be a lively scene indeed. According to custom, a large congregation of worshippers comes to the temple on the night of the 14th day of the sixth lunar month to make offerings and pray to the god. Taichung Mayor Jason Hu will be at the temple from 11pm until 1am on the 15th day of the sixth lunar month, leading the various district heads of Taichung in burning incense as offerings to the City God, and bringing the entire ceremony to a satisfactory close.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

每年農曆六月是「台中城隍誕辰」,為了迎接城隍爺誕辰,南區城隍社區上週六舉辦「陣頭迎城隍」活動,以金獅陣、官將首等陣頭遶境做為開場,為即將到來的祭典熱身。

農曆六月十五日(國曆八月二日)是台中城隍誕辰,各地善男信女都會前來敬拜;而台中城隍廟於一八八九年間設立於東區干城一帶,為台灣巡撫劉銘傳所興建,具有官廟性質。一八九五年日本治理台灣時,城隍廟被日軍佔住,城隍神尊流落民間,直到一九二二年間,才由台中仕紳林子瑾等人募集資金,在南區重建台中城隍廟,讓城隍爺回到廟宇中供奉。

從清朝末年開始,台中「城隍生」便是相當熱鬧的民俗活動,城隍爺還會在眾多部將簇擁下,巡視台中市,被稱為「台中城隍祭」。但該祭典已相隔數十年未舉辦,直到最近才在地方有志之士推動下,從去年開始舉辦小規模的遶境活動,並拍攝紀錄片保存。

城隍里長林炳儀表示,希望藉由該活動,喚起社區民眾的記憶,並讓「城隍出巡」,成為當地文化特色,因此今年也舉辦「城隍夜巡」民俗慶典,先在城隍廟埕進行金獅陣、官將首等開場與劇場表演,再由道士唸咒請神後,城隍神轎起轎出巡忠孝夜市一帶。

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