Thursday, October 02, 2014

Religion lives

Exciting excursion today to a festival of "popular religion" in 金泽 Jinze, one of the old water towns around Shanghai. We weren't alone!
The day started early at the gate of Fudan University, festooned with a banner celebrating the nation's 65th anniversary, today. (See Mao?)
Other pilgrims arrived by boat from nearby towns.
Some women lined up for their procession to entertain the god.
A most amazing conflagration of incense and spirit money.
Speaking of smoke, cigarettes were among the offerings for the god.
The town, as yet undiscovered by tourism, has many lovely canals.
And other opportunities for worship, here a low shrine (with small statuettes insides) probably dedicated to the Earth God.
At a Chan temple we found a group who'd also danced for the god.
My Chinese hosts were most excited about the 扎肉提香, the men who suspended incense pots and gongs from a series of little hooks through their fore-arms, whom we first saw at the big temple and encountered hours later processing stoically along one of the canals.
I was more impressed by worship without temples: I learned there used to be a temple at the foot of each of the town's many bridges. They were razed under communism and in some places even replaced by public latrines, but their religious significance was not forgotten. With that in place, you don't need very much more for worship...

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