The Five Poisons (Chinese: 五毒; Pinyin: wǔ dú) or the five noxious creatures can refer to an ancient Chinese set of poisonous or otherwise hazardous animals or five perceived threats the Communist Party of China sees for its rule over Mainland China.
Ancient Chinese Five Poisons
The fifth day of the fifth month or Duanwu in ancient Chinese folklore symbolised the beginning of the Summer, this day also known as "Double 5 day" or "Double 5th day" or more commonly tiān zhōng jié (天中節) was seen as one of the most inauspiciously and dangerous days of the year, this was because all the poisonous animals and bugs would then began to appear. The Ancient Chinese believed that the only way to combat poison was with poison, and one way they believed that they could protect themselves on this day was by drinking realgar wine which contains arsenic sulfide, another way to protect themselves on this day was by hanging pictures of Zhong Kui, another custom holds that the Chinese should mix mercury (cinnabar) with wine, or using Gu poison to combat these creatures, however the far most common way of protecting themselves was using "Five poison" charms and amulets (五毒錢), it was also customary for Chinese parents to let their children wear these amulet that have pictures of the 5 poisons or otherwise hang small pouches filled with mugwort around the necks of these children. The five poisons in this context don't refer to five actual toxins but to five animals that were perceived to be "poisonous", these animals according to various historical sources usually included:
But in some variants toads were replaced by Jin Chan, and in other variants tigers are members of the 5 poisons. Tigers are then considered members of the five poisons because they are solitary animals and the Mandarin Chinese word for "solitary" has a similar pronunciation as the word for "poison".
Communist Party of China version
The Five Poisons of the Communist Party of China
The 'five poisons' are:
- Uyghurs, especially supporters of the East Turkestan independence movement.
- Tibetans, especially supporters of the Tibetan independence movement.
- adherents of the Falun Gong.
- members of the Chinese democracy movement
- advocates for the Taiwan independence movement
- "天師收五毒錢 Heavenly Master Subduing the Five Poisons". Jave Wu - Jave Wu Taoism Place (孝華君道教百科資訊網) - A place for All people around the World to know more about Taoism. 一個讓全球同道認識道教文化的資訊站。此為"太初五斗米道觀正一道教學院"之屬下傳道網頁。 (in Chinese). 30 May 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "The Five Poisons - 五毒 - The Fifth Day of the Fifth Month". Gary Ashkenazy / גארי אשכנזי (Primaltrek – a journey through Chinese culture). 16 November 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
- "The Legendary Chinese Poison Made by Forcing Snakes, Scorpions, and Centipedes to Fight. "Gu" was a mythological substance born from fear, with a dramatic backstory". Lauren Young (Atlas Obscura). 11 November 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2018.