Miaohui temple gatherings or translated as temple fairs called yíngshén sàihuì, are Chinese religious gatherings held by folk temples for the worship of the Chinese gods and immortals. Large-scale miaohui are held around the time of the Chinese New Year, or in specific temples at the birthday of the god enshrined in the temple itself. Activities 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, blessing of offerings brought to the temple by families, various economic activities. Geography and local customs lead to great differences in the nature of festivals dedicated to the gods. In northern China miaohui are week-long, with ceremonies held in large temples, attended by tens of thousands of people. Matsuri, the Japanese equivalent Cooper, Gene; the Market and Temple Fairs of Rural China: Red Fire. Routledge. ISBN 1136250298. Davis, Edward L.. Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture.
Taylor & Francis. ISBN 041577716X. Overmyer, Daniel. Local Religion in North China in the Twentieth Century: The Structure and Organization of Community Rituals and Beliefs. Brill. ISBN 9047429362
The Qingming or Ching Ming festival known as Tomb-Sweeping Day in English, is a traditional Chinese festival observed by the Han Chinese of China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand. It's observed by the Chitty of Melaka and Singapore, it falls on the first day of the fifth solar term of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. This makes it the 15th day after the Spring Equinox, either 5 April in a given year. During Qingming, Chinese families visit the tombs of their ancestors to clean the gravesites, pray to their ancestors, make ritual offerings. Offerings would include traditional food dishes, the burning of joss sticks and joss paper; the holiday recognizes the traditional reverence of one's ancestors in Chinese culture. The Qingming Festival has been observed by the Chinese for over 2500 years, it became a public holiday in mainland China in 2008. In Taiwan, the public holiday was in the past observed on 5 April to honor the death of Chiang Kai-shek on that day in 1975, but with Chiang's popularity waning, this convention is not being observed.
A similar holiday is observed in the Ryukyu Islands, called Shīmī in the local language. In mainland China, the holiday is associated with the consumption of qingtuan, green dumplings made of glutinous rice and Chinese mugwort or barley grass. A similar confection called shuchuguo, made with Jersey cudweed, is consumed in Taiwan; the festival originated from the Cold Food or Hanshi Festival which remembered Jie Zitui, a nobleman of the state of Jin during the Spring and Autumn Period. Amid the Li Ji Unrest, he followed his master Prince Chong'er in 655 BC to exile among the Di tribes and around China, he once cut meat from his own thigh to provide his lord with soup. In 636 BC, Duke Mu of Qin invaded Jin and enthroned Chong'er as its duke, where he was generous in rewarding those who had helped him in his time of need. Owing either to his own high-mindedness or to the duke's neglect, Jie was long passed over, he retired to the forest around Mount Mian with his elderly mother. The duke could not find them.
He ordered his men to set fire to the forest in order to force Jie out. When Jie and his mother were killed instead, the duke was overcome with remorse and erected a temple in his honor; the people of Shanxi subsequently revered Jie as an immortal and avoided lighting fires for as long as a month in the depths of winter, a practice so injurious to children and the elderly that the area's rulers unsuccessfully attempted to ban it for centuries. A compromise developed where it was restricted to 3 days around the Qingming solar term in mid-spring; the present importance of the holiday is credited to Emperor Xuanzong of Tang. Wealthy citizens in China were holding too many extravagant and ostentatiously expensive ceremonies in honor of their ancestors. In AD 732, Xuanzong sought to curb this practice by declaring that such respects could be formally paid only once a year, on Qingming. Qingming Festival is; this tradition has been legislated by the Emperors who built majestic imperial tombstones for every dynasty.
For over 5000 years, the Chinese imperials, nobility and peasantry alike have gathered together to remember the lives of the departed, to visit their tombstones to perform Confucian filial piety by tombsweeping, to visit burial grounds, graveyards or in modern urban cities, the city columbaria, to perform groundskeeping and maintenance, to commit to pray for their ancestors in the uniquely Chinese concept of the afterlife and to offer remembrances of their ancestors to living blood relatives, their kith and kin. The Qingming Festival commemorates the life of the departed in an elaborate set of rituals mistranslated in the West as ancestral worship, it is a Confucian form of posthumous respect and filial piety offered to a Chinese person's ancestors, departed relatives, or parents. Not all Chinese persons will pray directly to their ancestors in ancestral spirit but all will observe the Qing Ming Rituals; the young and old alike kneel down to offer prayers before tombstones of the ancestors, offer the burning of joss in both the forms of incense sticks and silver-leafed paper, sweep the tombs and offer food, wine, and/or libations in memory of the ancestors.
Depending on the religion of the observers, some pray to a higher deity to honour their ancestors while others may pray directly to the ancestral spirits. These rites have a long tradition in Asia among the imperialty who legislated these rituals into a national religion, they have been preserved by the peasantry and are most popular with farmers today, who believe that continued observances will ensure fruitful harvests ahead by appeasing the spirits in the other world. Religious symbols of ritual purity, such as pomegranate and willow branches, are popular at this time; some people carry willow branches with them on Qingming or stick willow branches on their gates and/or front doors. There are similarities to palm leaves used on Palm Sundays in Christianity. Furthermore, the belief is that the willow branches will help ward off the unappeased and troubling spirits, and/or evil spirits that may be wandering in the earthly realms on Qingming. After gathering on Qingming to perform Confucian clan and family duties at the tombstones, graveyards or columbaria, celebrants spend the rest of the day in clan or family outings, before they start the spring plowing.
They sing and dance. Qingming is a time when young coupl
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The festival is referred to as the Spring Festival in mainland China, is one of several Lunar New Years in Asia. Observances traditionally take place from the evening preceding the first day of the year to the Lantern Festival, held on the 15th day of the year; the first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between 21 January and 20 February. In 2019, the first day of the Chinese New Year was on Tuesday, 5 February, initiating the Year of the Pig. Chinese New Year is a major holiday in Greater China and has influenced lunar new year celebrations of China's neighbouring cultures, including the Korean New Year, the Tết of Vietnam, the Losar of Tibet, it is celebrated worldwide in regions and countries with significant Overseas Chinese populations, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Mauritius, as well as many in North America and Europe.
Chinese New Year is associated with several customs. The festival was traditionally a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the New Year vary and the evening preceding Chinese New Year's Day is regarded as an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner, it is traditional for every family to clean their house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck. Another custom is the decoration of doors with red paper-cuts and couplets. Popular themes among these paper-cuts and couplets include that of good fortune or happiness and longevity. Other activities include giving money in red paper envelopes. For the northern regions of China, dumplings are featured prominently in meals celebrating the festival; this is folklore said that there will come out like a beast called ‘Nian’ during the Spring Festival. The beast is seen once a year; this day is called ‘New Year’.
And the day before New Year is called ‘New Year Eve’. According to the legend, the beast was ferocious as it went to the house to eat people in the midnight. In order to avoid the beast, Yanhuang reunited the people together and sat around to resist the beast; as the beast appear once a year, Yanhuang discovered that the beast was afraid of red and loud noise. Therefore every household posted red couplet at the door, ignited a bonfire outside the home, fired the firecrackers; when the beast saw those red things outside every household, they would drive away. There is a say that the beast is ‘Xi’ rather than ‘Nian’; the Spring Festival included New Year’s Eve and New Year. ‘Xi’ is a kind of faint monster, ‘Nian’ is not related to the animal beasts in terms of meaning, it is more like a mature harvest. There is no record of the beast in the ancient texts, it is only folklore in China; the word "Nian" is composed of the words "he" and "Qian". It means that the grain is rich and the harvest is good; the farmers review the harvest at the end of the year and are full of expectations for the coming year.
According to Chinese historical documents, since the beginning of the era, people have celebrated the harvest in the New Year and welcomed the new folk customs. They became an established traditional festival. “Spring Festival.” While Spring Festival has since become the official name of Chinese New Year, the Chinese outside mainland China still prefer calling it Lunar Year. “Chinese New Year” is a popular and convenient translation for people of non-Chinese cultural backgrounds. Along with the Han Chinese in and outside China, as many as 29 of the 55 ethnic minority groups in China celebrate Chinese New Year. Six countries like Korea, Singapore and Indonesia celebrate it as their official festival; the lunisolar Chinese calendar determines the date of Lunar New Year. The calendar is used in countries that have been influenced by, or have relations with, China – such as Korea and Vietnam, though the date celebrated may differ by one day or one moon cycle due to using a meridian based on a different capital city in a different time zone or different placements of intercalary months.
Chinese calendar defines the lunar month with winter solstice as the 11th month, which means that Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. In more than 96% of the years, the Chinese New Year's Day is the closest new moon to lichun on 4 or 5 February, the first new moon after Dahan. In the Gregorian calendar, the Lunar New Year begins at the new moon that falls between 21 January and 20 February; the Gregorian Calendar dates for Chinese New Year from 1912 to 2101 are below, along with the year's presiding animal zodiac and its Stem-branch. The traditional Chinese calendar follows a Metonic cycle, a system used by the modern Jewish Calendar, returns to the same date in Gregorian calendar roughly; the names of the Earthly Branches have no English counterparts and are not the Chinese translations of the animals. Alongside the 12-year cycle of the animal zodiac there is a 10-year cycle of heavenly stems; each of the ten heavenly stems is associated with one of the five elements of Chinese astrology, namely: Wood, Earth and Water.
The elements are rotated every two years. The elements are thus distinguished: Yin Wood, Yang Fire, Yin Fire, etc.. These produce a combined cycle that repeat
Shangdi written "Emperor", is the Chinese term for "Supreme Deity" or "Highest Deity" in the theology of the classical texts deriving from Shang theology and finding an equivalent in the Tian of Zhou theology. Although in Chinese religion the usage of "Tian" to refer to the absolute God of the universe is predominant, "Shangdi" continues to be used in a variety of traditions, including certain philosophical schools, certain strains of Confucianism, some Chinese salvationist religions and Chinese Protestant Christianity. In addition, it is common to use such term among contemporary and secular Chinese, Hong Kong, Taiwanese societies for a singular universal deity and a non-religion translation for the God in Christianity. "Shang Di" is the pinyin romanization of two Chinese characters. The first – 上, Shàng – means "high", "highest", "first", "primordial"; the word itself is derived from Three "Huang" and Five "Di", including Yellow Emperor, the mythological originator of the Chinese civilization and the ancestor of the Chinese race.
However, 帝 refers to the High God of Shang, thus means "deity". Thus, the name Shangdi should be translated as "Highest Deity", but have the implied meaning of "Primordial Deity" or "First Deity" in Classical Chinese; the deity preceded the title and the emperors of China were named after him in their role as Tianzi, the sons of Heaven. In the classical texts the highest conception of the heavens is identified with Shang Di, described somewhat anthropomorphically, he is associated with the pole star. The conceptions of the Supreme Ruler and of the Sublime Heavens afterward coalesce or absorb each other; the earliest references to Shangdi are found in oracle bone inscriptions of the Shang Dynasty in the 2nd millennium BC, although the work Classic of History claims yearly sacrifices were made to him by Emperor Shun before the Xia Dynasty. Shangdi was regarded as the ultimate spiritual power by the ruling elite of the Huaxia during the Shang dynasty: he was believed to control victory in battle, success or failure of harvests, weather conditions such as the floods of the Yellow River, the fate of the kingdom.
Shangdi seems to have ruled a hierarchy of other gods controlling nature, as well as the spirits of the deceased. These ideas were mirrored or carried on by the Taoist Jade Emperor and his celestial bureaucracy. Shangdi was more transcendental than immanent, only working through lesser gods. Shangdi was considered too distant to be worshiped directly by ordinary mortals. Instead, the Shang kings proclaimed that Shangdi had made himself accessible through the souls of their royal ancestors, both in the legendary past and in recent generations as the departed Shang kings joined him in the afterlife; the emperors could thus entreat Shangdi directly. Many of the oracle bone inscriptions record these petitions praying for rain but seeking approval from Shangdi for state action. In the Shang and Zhou dynasties, Shangdi was conflated with Heaven; the Duke of Zhou justified his clan's usurpation through the concept of the Mandate of Heaven, which proposed that the protection of Shangdi was not connected to their clan membership but by their just governance.
Shangdi was not just a tribal but instead an unambiguously good moral force, exercising its power according to exacting standards. It could thus be lost and "inherited" by a new dynasty, provided they upheld the proper rituals. Nonetheless, the connection of many rituals with the Shang clan meant that Shang nobles continued to rule several locations and to serve as court advisors and priests; the Duke of Zhou created an entire ceremonial city along strict cosmological principals to house the Shang aristocracy and the nine tripods representing Huaxia sovereignty. The Shang's lesser houses, the shi knightly class, developed directly into the learned Confucian gentry and scholars who advised the Zhou rulers on courtly etiquette and ceremony; the Confucian classics carried on and ordered the earlier traditions, including the worship of Shangdi. All of them include references: The Four Books mention Shangdi as well but, as it is a compilation, the references are much more sparse and abstract. Shangdi appears most in earlier works: this pattern may reflect increasing rationalization of Shangdi over time, the shift from a known and arbitrary tribal god to a more abstract and philosophical concept, or his conflation and absorption by other deities.
By the time of the Han dynasty, the influential Confucian scholar Zheng Xuan glossed: "Shangdi is another name for Heaven". Dong Zhongshu said: "Heaven is the ultimate authority, the king of gods who should be admired by the king". In eras, he was known by the name "Heavenly Ruling Highest Deity" and, in this usage, he is conflated with the Taoist Jade Emperor. In Shang sources, Di is described as the supreme ordainer of the events which occur in nature, such as wind and thunder, in human affairs and politics. All the gods of nature are conceived as his manifestations. Shang sources attest his cosmological Five Ministries. Di, or Tian, as texts explain, did not receive cult for being too remote for living humans to sacrifice to directl
Tiandiism is a group of Chinese folk religious sects, namely the Holy Church of the Heavenly Virtue and the Lord of Universe Church, which emerged from the teachings of Xiao Changming and Li Yujie, disseminated in the early 20th century. The Lord of Universe Church is a development of the former, established in the 1980s; these religions focus on the worship of the "Heavenly Deity" or "Heavenly Emperor", on health through the proper cultivation of qi, teach a style of qigong named Tianren qigong. According to scholars, the doctrines of Li Yujie are traceable to the Taoist tradition of Huashan, where he studied for eight years; the Lord of Universe Church is active both in Taiwan and mainland China, where it has high-level links. The origins of the Holy Church of the Heavenly Virtue go back to Sichuan in 1899, with the alleged resurrection of a young boy named Xiao Changming who had died three days earlier. After his revival, he declared that he had received Heaven's mandate to save humanity from suffering.
He attracted a large following. In 1937 he established his headquarters on Mount Huang in southern Anhui province where he died in 1943. Like other sects, Xiao Changming's movement was suppressed in China after 1949, but survives in Taiwan and Hong Kong. In Taiwan, one of Xiao's disciples, Li Yujie decided to walk his own path and founded a new group called the Lord of Universe Church in 1978, which diverges doctrinally in several aspects from the mother group, yet sees itself in the tradition of Xiao Changming's teachings. There exist two regional organizations for this religion, its Hong Kong headquarters is located at Castle Peak in the New Territories. In Taiwan the religion's situation is characterized by disunity, with several separate organizations claiming to continue original Xiao's teachings; the Lord of Universe Church is based in Taiwan and is devoted to the Tiandist beliefs as proclaimed by Li Yujie. It is an offshoot of the Holy Church of the Heavenly Virtue and it emphasizes chanting, traditional medicine, a form of meditation which it calls "quiet sitting" in English.
Li Yujie was born in China. He worked in the Guomindang but left in 1958 to ensure political independence for his fledgling newspaper. In 1980 he claimed he was given permission by God to retransmit the message of the Heavenly Deity, which emphasize nuclear disarmament and Chinese unification, his book, The Ultimate Realm, was translated into English under his guidance. Tian Xiantiandao Chinese folk religion Taoism Confucianism "An introduction to the Lord of Universe Church". ERenlai. Retrieved 2010-10-06. D. A. Palmer. Chinese Redemptive Societies and Salvationist Religion: Historical Phenomenon or Sociological Category?. On: Journal of Chinese Ritual and Folklore, V. 172, 2011, p. 21-72 Benoit Vermander. Christianity and the Taiwanese Religious Landscape. On: The Way, 39, 1999. London Society of Jesus. Pp. 129-139 Evelyne Micollier. Realignments in Religion and Health Practices: An Approach to the "New Religions" in Taiwanese Society. On: China Perspectives, 16, 1998. Pp. 34-40 Ju Keyi, Lu Xianlong.
Tiandi jiao: The Daoist Connection. On: Journal of Daoist Studies. Vol. 7, 2014. Tiande ChurchHoly Church of the Heavenly Virtue Holy Church of the Heavenly Virtue ReportTiandi ChurchLi Yujie's Heavenly Deity teachings Lord of Universe Church Taiwan's Lord of Universe Church "Tenteikyo" - Japan's Lord of Universe Church