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Temple Festivals

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Chapter Summary

Chinese local religion is based on family and public worship of deities and ancestors on home altars, but it also involves large-scale rituals participated in by members of the whole village or township community, on the occasion of what are believed to be the birthdays of the gods or to seek protection from droughts, epidemics and other disasters. Gao Youpeng, whose description of festivals in Henan is discussed in this chapter, says that the major goals of those who participate in them are to realize communication between gods and humans, express their hopes by praying for blessings and for the prevention of difficulties, and to respectfully worship the gods. The most detailed information about north China temple festivals is in reports about them in the area around Zhangzi City in east central Shanxi. These reports, supplemented by information from Hebei, Shandong and Henan, are the database for the chapter.

Keywords: Chinese local religion; god's birthday; Hebei; Henan; north China temple festivals; Shandong; Shanxi



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