Day 277 : 齐天大圣诞

Chinese Opera

On my way home today, I came across a grand Taoist ceremony to celebrate the birthday of the Monkey God (齐天大圣诞孙悟空), which falls on the 16th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar (农历十六日).

Of the myriad Taoist celebrations and processions dedicated to the gods, the Monkey God’s has got to be the most gruesome with devotees performing extreme acts of self-mutilation such as piercing the body, tongue and cheeks with spears and knives; self-flagellation and whipping; climbing ladders made of sharp blades; and walking on fire, broken glass, etc.

When I arrived, the ceremony was just about to begin but I was on the way to the gym so I didn’t stay to witness the daredevil acts of devotion. I remember these ceremonies used to draw huge crowds when I was younger but tonight’s celebration was devoid of onlookers. As the younger generation simplify religious rites, is this the beginning of the death of the gods?

The celebration was held by Tian Long Gong. Haven’t seen these traditional big-head dolls upclose in a long time.

A sifu writing a talisman. I wonder if it is chicken or black dog’s blood he is using.

What is this neon runway? Is it a mobile catwalk?

Walk if you dare!

A bed of broken bottle shards waiting to help devotees liberate their faith.

Offerings of paper horses, clothes and servant deities.

Dolls alive! They looked so cute dancing and bouncing around.

No one’s watching but the show must go on.

Huge tentage on an empty field along Race Course Road where the ceremony took place. It has been an otherworldly encounter on the walk home. What a cultural treat!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. the wanderer
    Oct 07, 2012 @ 21:04:37

    Hi Darren! It’s nice to have met you in Capri the other night.

    P.S. — it’s quite interesting to see these kinds of events in Singapore. Have never seen it before in my more than 4 years here.


    • Darren Ng
      Oct 08, 2012 @ 00:33:26

      hey albino… it’s my pleasure meeting you. i recognise your blog now, love your writing style and way with words 🙂 there are quite a lot of such media meet and greet events going on actually. if u’d like, i can ask u along next time.


  2. spunktitud3
    Oct 07, 2012 @ 21:29:02

    This is so interesting! We are forgeting our cultural roots, and it’s great to have someone like you putting a new perspective into the tradition and getting the young ones interested. I’m not that old, but I miss the days when Apple and Blackberry were just fruits, and people took more interest in what was happening around them rather than on Facebook.


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