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The Gathering of Receiving Gods

In ancient China, there was the tradition that the people in an area jointly feted local Gods or receive Gods to befall in a particular area to ward off calamities and send down blessings. This tradition is filtered into Taoism, so the gathering of receiving Gods is often held in Taoism.

When gathering, the Juggernaut should be taken out for a parade to inspect different places and drive away evils. As for taking which Gods, it depends on the belief of the local people.

The gathering of receiving Gods often has strict organization. It usually uses the name of the feted Gods, or the tenet of the organization, or the business and the area of the organizer. The gathering is an important thing in the local place. Chinese people have the tradition of pleasing Gods by singing and dancing. Especially in the large gathering, literary performances are shown systematically. At the same time, all kinds of dramas are held till deep night. Among them, there are stilt, land boat, playing long flag, playacting dramatic scene, inspecting the street in the vehicle or holding by people and so on. These performances are usually performed in public on the street and market town at the same time. People can enjoy the performances freely. The actors and actresses are all common people and most of them are the locals, so it is noticeable for the mass participation.

The gathering of receiving Gods is actually the carnival for Chinese people. However, in the West, as the religion is quite consistent, or a certain religion plays a controlling role, their religion festivals are almost identical in the whole nation or in many countries. In China, as there are different Gods believed, and the gathering times in different areas are varied, people can go to the nearby to take part in this kind of activity for many times.

Many performances in the gathering are just prepared especially for the gathering. However, with the hard work of the folk actors and actresses, and the competition, interchange and communication among many groups, its level gets improved a lot. As the time passes by, some have disappeared, but the others are independent and become influential folk literary performance. Many of them are still very active on the stage of the time.

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