Sat, Jun 09, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Tainan Sigang Qingan Temple: The burning of the King Boat
慶安宮香科醮典 送王船圓滿落幕

Captain, chief mate and executives of the King Boat, as well as Daoist masters, inspect the boat and chant prayers on board on Monday in Tainan.

Photo: Perry Svensson, Taipei Times

The "kuah hsiunn" (刈香) ceremonies, held by Qingan Temple in Tainan’s Sigang District this year, concluded on Monday with the sending off of the wangye by burning the King Boat.

In Taoism, the wangye are a group of deities directly affiliated to Heaven and assigned by the Jade Emperor to descend to Earth and conduct inspection tours. The wangye worshiped in Sigang Qingan Temple are “the twelve disease lords of inspection and hunting on behalf of Heaven.” They can be traced back to the traditional folk belief of deities responsible for spreading plagues, later evolving into deities who dispel epidemics, expel bad spirits, reward the virtuous and punish the wicked.

The term "kuah hsiunn" refers to the Taoist rituals for requesting incense from deities. Held every three years for more than 230 years, Sigang Qingan Temple’s "kuah hsiunn” ceremonies are recognized as a national folk event.

After a lively and bustling three-day inspection tour, the wangye sending-off ceremony on Monday started with worshiping and inviting royal lords and Matsu aboard.

After arriving at the designated spot, the King Boat was lifted by crane onto a huge pile of joss paper. Mast and sail were installed onto the boat, along with divine soldiers made of paper and packages of donations from the faithful. At 10:17am, after the wangye had been thanked for bringing blessings down and ridding the area of pestilence, disease, evil demons and misfortune, dense smoke began to emerge from the boat cabin. As palanquins and zhentou troupes encircled the boat, accompanied by the sonorous sound of gongs and drums, the King Boat was quickly engulfed in flames and “ascended to Heaven,” the main mast collapsing toward the northeast side, pointing in the direction of downtown Sigang.

(Translated by Chang Ho-ming, Taipei Times)







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