Mon, Oct 22, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Three generations of infernal generals welcome the Wang Yeh gods
傳承迎王祭典 三代同台扮家將

Three generations of infernal general actors from the same association, 75-year-old grandfather Tsai Cheng-hsiung, right, his son Tsai Ming-che, left, and his grandson Yang Chia-en pose for a photo in Pingtung County’s Donggang Township on Tuesday last week.
三代同堂扮演迎王爺家將的七十五歲阿公蔡正雄(右)、兒子蔡明哲(左)與外孫楊家恩,上週二於屏東縣東港鎮合影。

Photo: Yeh Yung-chien, Liberty Times
照片:自由時報記者葉永騫

Comprising three generations performing together as part of the Gongshan Association’s “infernal generals troupe,” or shijiajiang in Chinese, in Pingtung County’s Donggang Township, 75-year-old Tsai Cheng-hsiung performs the role of civil judge while his son, Tsai Ming-che, plays the second eldest Lord Shen, and his grandson, Yang Chia-en, fills the role of the “white sword general.” They participate as a family in Donggang’s ritual ceremony for welcoming the Wang Yeh gods, also known as the plague gods. But the grandfather laments that he is getting on in years and says people might not be able to see all three generations performing together as infernal generals much longer.

Gongshan Association’s infernal generals troupe was first created around 80 years ago, and was the first of its kind in Donggang. There are 12 members in all, including a civil judge and martial judge, a civil envoy and martial envoy, four generals, and four gods representing the four seasons. The scope of Donggang’s ceremony for welcoming the gods was initially quite small, and the troupe was always in charge of organizing the ceremony and protecting the gods. But as the number of people taking part in the ceremony grew, it eventually became a more elaborate event, and a large Songjiang battle formation troupe with 108 members took over the responsibility of inviting, welcoming and protecting the Wang Yeh gods. Gongshan Association’s troupe still plays an important role in the local event though.

This year the 75-year-old Tsai is performing the old general’s role, teaching newcomers how to perform their parts as generals, and passing on the local traditions of the art form. Seeing the grandfather perform as an infernal general together with his son and grandson is an extraordinary scene.

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. plague n. 瘟疫

A plague known as the Black Death killed around 25 million people in Europe in the 14th century.

歐洲十四世紀名稱為黑死病的瘟疫導致約兩千五百萬人死亡。

2. envoy n. 使者

The president sent an envoy to Guatemala.

總統派使者去瓜地馬拉。

3. ailment n. 輕微的疾病;毛病

The older you get the more ailments you are bound to have.

你愈老會愈多毛病。


Grandfather Tsai says that when he first started performing with the infernal generals troupe as a young lad it was because he was suffering from an ailment that doctors were unable to treat at the time, so he sought help from the gods. Eventually recovering his health, he decided to fulfill his duty of repaying the gods by serving as one of the infernal general characters. When his son was a young boy, Tsai would often take him to the temple to learn how to perform, and says that his grandson started studying because he was interested, thus you have three generations performing together in one association. Being able to perform together in this year’s ceremony for welcoming the Wang Yeh gods is a rare treat indeed.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

七十五歲蔡正雄當文判、兒子蔡明哲扮沈二爺,外孫楊家恩則擔任白劍將軍,三代同台扮演開基屏東縣東港鎮共善堂什家將,共同參與東港迎王平安祭典,蔡正雄說,他年紀大了,三代同堂扮家將的畫面以後恐怕很難再見到。

東港共善堂的什家將成立約八十年,是東港鎮第一個家將團,成員有十二人,分成文武判、文武差爺、前四班、後四季,早期東港迎王的規模並不盛大,由什家將負責迎王祭典護衛工作,後來隨著祭典人數愈來愈多,規模愈來愈大,請王、迎王等護衛工作改由人數較多的宋江陣一百零八條好漢負責,但共善堂什家將在地方仍頗負盛名。

今年迎王更有七十五歲的蔡正雄等老班底參與扮家將,教導後進學習扮好家將,傳承這項民俗技藝,他也和兒子蔡明哲、外孫楊家恩同台扮演什家將,成了相當難得的畫面。

蔡正雄表示,參加什家將是因為年輕時曾經遇到不好的東西,看醫生也沒有效,後來祈求神明幫助,身體漸漸痊癒,才會接下家將這個任務,兒子是從小帶到廟裡學習,外孫因有興趣學習,才會形成三代同堂,並難得一起參加這次的迎王平安祭典。(自由時報記者葉永騫)

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