Miaohui

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Temple gathering at the Chenghuangshen Temple of Guangzhou, Guangdong.

Miaohui (庙会), literally temple gatherings or translated as temple fairs, also called yíngshén sàihuì (迎神赛会 "collective rituals to greet the gods")[note 1], are Chinese religious gatherings held by folk temples for the worship of the Chinese gods and immortals.[2] Large-scale miaohui are usually held around the time of the Chinese New Year, or in specific temples at the birthday of the god enshrined in the temple itself.[2][3] Activities usually include rituals celebrated in the temple, opera on a stage facing the temple, processions of the gods' images on carts throughout villages and cities, performance of musical and ritual troupes (of Taoists, sects and Confucian ritualists), blessing of offerings brought to the temple by families,[2] and various economic activities.[4]

Geography and local customs lead to great differences in the nature of festivals dedicated to the gods.[2] In northern China miaohui are usually week-long, with ceremonies held in large temples, and attended by tens of thousands of people; while in southern China they are a much more local practice, organised by village temples or clusters of temples of different villages.[5]

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Notes[edit]

  1. ^ They are also called jié chǎng (节场 "outside festivals"). Other names, used in north China, are:[1]
    • xianghui (香会), "incense gatherings";
    • saishe (赛社), "communal ritual bodies";
    • saihui (赛会), "communal ritual gatherings".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Overmyer (2009), p. 94.
  2. ^ a b c d Davis (2009), p. 815.
  3. ^ Example: China Daily, Temple fair of Goddess Mazu opens in Nanjing, 2015-05-12.
  4. ^ Cooper (2013), p. passim.
  5. ^ Davis (2009), p. 815-816.

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