The (Chinese) questions and answers below are from the book "The Origins of Taiwanese Customs." The Chinese was written by Lin Mao-shian, and the English translation was written by me. 下列的中文問題跟答案來自於台灣民俗由來這本書. 這本書的作者是林茂賢先生. 我則是將他書中的部分內容翻譯成英文.
Below are chapters 1-8 from the "Folk Beliefs" section. Next month I'll introduce sections 9-16. There are 32 chapters in all. 以下是 "民俗信仰" 第一到第八章的部分. 下個月我要介紹第九到第十六章的部分. "民俗信仰" 這個單元總共有三十二章.
1. Q: 拜拜時的 "天公 " 指的是誰? Who is the "Tian Gong" that people pray to?1
A: "天公" 指的是玉皇大帝, 閩南語稱為 "天公伯." 在民間信仰裡, 玉皇大帝是神明的主宰, 也是地位最高的神, 民間的凡人當然要祭拜祂囉! 由於天公的生日是每年的農曆正月初九, 所以 "正月初九拜天公" 就成了很重要的習俗. 拜天公的時間通常是農曆正月初九的凌晨十二點, 除了要準備好祭拜的牲禮外, 當天還要注意, 不能將衣服晾在屋外, 也不能清理水肥, 避免對天公不敬. "Tian Gong" refers to the Jade Emperor. In Taiwanese, he is called "Uncle Tian Gong." In popular belief, the Jade Emperor is the master of the gods, and also the highest in status. For this reason, it's obvious why people want to worship him. Tian Gong's birthday falls on the ninth day of the first lunar month, and praying to Tian Gong on this day has become a very important custom. The time to pray to Tian Gong is usually twelve o'clock in the morning, and aside from preparing the appropriate offerings, you should be careful not to dry clothes inside your house, or to clean up manure. This is done to respect Tian Gong.
2. Q: 為什麼有些媽祖臉是黑的? Why are the faces of some Matsus black?2
A: 媽祖本名林默娘, 傳說她精通法術, 在十六歲那年救了出海遇難的爸爸, 哥哥和其他商船. 默娘在二十八歲時得道升天為神, 之後只要有漁民遇到海難, 祂都會顯靈相救, 所以被認為是海洋的守護神. 臺灣的媽祖神像有膚色, 黑色, 紅色, 金色和白色, 其中黑色的被稱為 "黑面媽祖," 一種說法是因為牠長期被供奉在廟中, 臉被香的煙燻黑; 另一種說法是黑面媽祖比較凶悍, 負責捉妖, 除煞等任務. Matsu was originally named Lin Mo-niang, and legend has it that she was a magician. When she was 16 years old, she saved her father, brother, and other people from a disaster at sea involving several merchant ships. When Mo-niang was 28, she was called up to heaven, and afterward saved fisherman from many other disasters at sea. For this reason she came to be seen as the protective spirit of the ocean.
Taiwanese statues of Matsu are flesh-colored, black, red, gold, and white. The black version of her statue is called "Black Faced Matsu," and it is said that she's been enshrined in the temple so long that her face has been blackened by the smoke. Another explanation is that Black Faced Matsu [has a black face because she] is more aggressive. This is because catching demons in one of her many tasks.
3. Q: 為什麼會有媽祖遶境活動? Why is there a Matsu "Rao Jing" activity?3
A: 媽祖本是沿海地區庇護漁民的神明, 之後向海外傳播, 現在已成為華人的重要信仰, 在臺灣尤其盛行. 每年元宵節後到農曆三月二十三日這段期間, 各地媽祖廟都會舉行盛大的慶祝儀式, 其中白沙屯媽祖進香, 北港媽祖遶境和大甲媽祖遶境進香, 都是國家指定的重要民俗活動. "遶境" 是指神明定其巡視, 保佑人民平安健康. 而媽祖遶境大多在農曆三月間, 所以閩南語有 "三月瘋媽祖" 這句俗諺. Matsu was originally a deity that protected fisherman in coastal waters [near China], and was later carried to other places. She is now one of the most important Chinese deities, and this is especially so in Taiwan.
Every year after Lantern Festival, during the 23rd day of the third lunar month, Matsu temples everywhere host a grand celebration, which includes "Matsu's pilgrimage through the white sand." The Rao Jing activities in Beigang and Dajia4 are also very important cultural activities in Taiwan. "Rao Jing" refers to the god arriving for her inspection, and to the granting of peace and health to the people. Because most of the Matsu Rao Jing activities occur during the third lunar month, in Taiwanese it is often said that "The third month is [when people go] crazy for Matsu."
4. Q: 千里眼和順風耳是誰? Who are "Thousand League Eyes" and "Ears Like the Wind?"5
A: "千里眼" 叫做高明, 能看到千里以外的事物, 他的弟弟 "順風耳" 叫做高覺, 能聽見千里以外的聲音, 他們原本都是桃花山裡的妖精. 友一天, 媽祖路過桃花山, 兩兄弟不僅擋住媽祖的去路, 還想逼祂嫁給他們, 於是媽祖與他們鬥法, 而兩人最終還是敵不過媽祖的神威. 後來媽祖將千里眼和順風耳收為部下, 並且利用他們超乎常人的 "眼力" 和 "耳力," 協助祂救濟有苦難的人們. "Thousand League Eyes" was called Kao-ming. He could see things more than 1000 leagues away. His younger brother, "Ears Like the Wind" was called Kao-jiao, and he could hear sounds from more than 1000 leagues distant. They were originally spirits that lived on Peach Blossom Mountain.
One day, Matsu passed by Peach Blossom Mountain, and the two brothers blocked her path, demanding that she marry both of them. She fought a battle of wits against them, and in the end the two brothers were no match for the divine power of Matsu. Afterward Matsu accepted them as subordinates, and made use of their extraordinary eyesight and hearing to help people in trouble.
5. Q: 為什麼關公會變成神明? Why did Guan Gong become a god?
A: 關羽是三國時蜀漢的大將, 他與劉備, 張飛結拜為兄弟, 一起為國家奮鬥, 後人十分景仰他的忠義精神, 便將他奉為神明來祭祀. 在華人的宗教信仰中, 關羽的地位備受尊崇, 被奉為 "武聖,"民間的信眾則尊稱祂為 "關公," "關聖帝君" 等. 關公廟遍及全台, 香火鼎盛, 不但警界供奉祂, 希望辦案如有神助, 正義得以彰顯, 就連商家也將祂視為財神來祭拜, 是臺灣重要的神明之一. Guan Yu was a general for Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period. He swore brotherhood with Liou Bei and Jang Fei, and they fought for their country together. Those who came after Guan Yu admired his sense of righteousness, and began to worship him as a god. Guan Yu is respected by many, and for this reason he has been memorialized as "Wu Sheng" [War God] and revered among the people as "Guan Gong," "Emperor Guan Sheng," and by other names. There are Guan Gong temples all over Taiwan, and incense is burned in his honor. Police officers ask for his heavenly intercession in matters of justice, and businessmen also worship him as a god of wealth. He is one of Taiwan's most important gods.
6. Q: 台灣人最常拜的財神有哪些? Which gods of wealth to Taiwanese people usually pray to?
A: 在台灣傳統民間信仰中, 人們認為虔誠的祭拜神明可以得到庇佑, 讓一切平安順利, 並藉此獲得心靈上的力量. 此外, 由於適度的財富是讓生活順遂的一部分, 所以人們會祭拜 "財神," 尤其是依靠做生意賺錢的商人, 更視財神為重要的供奉對象. 財神有很多位, 多半是將歷史人物神格化後所產生的, 以滿足人們追求富裕的物質欲望, 而台灣人最常祭拜的財神有土地公, 關公, 寒單爺, 虎爺等. In traditional Chinese folk beliefs, people believe that through proper worship of the gods one can be blessed with peace, prosperity, and spiritual strength. Aside from this, and because a moderate amount of wealth is part of living a successful life, people worship "gods of wealth." This is especially true of those who earn money by doing business, and such people view gods of wealth as an important object of worship. There are many gods of wealth, and most of them can be traced back to historical figures who realized the commonly held goal of becoming wealthy. The gods of wealth most often worshiped by people in Taiwan are Tu Di Gong, Guan Gong, Lord [or "Grandfather"] Han Dan, Lord Tiger, and a some others.
7. Q: 為什麼台灣有很多土地公廟? Why does Taiwan have so many Tu Di Gong temples?6
A: 土地公又稱為 "福德正神," 祂是台灣人最普遍的信仰, 幾乎所有華人都虔誠的信奉祂. 土地公是最基層的神, 祂的職務繁多, 不僅要守護鄉里, 庇佑人民, 還要照顧牲畜, 橋梁, 田園等, 所以台灣到處可以見到土地公廟, 替當地的信徒解決煩惱. 閩南語有句俗諺: "田頭田尾土地公," 意思就是土地公無所不在, 就連墓園都能看到土地公的牌位或神象, 可以說是社區的守護神. Tu Di Gong is also called "Fu De Jung Shen."7 He is the most commonly worshiped god in Taiwan, and almost all Chinese people revere him in one way or another. Tu Di Gong is the most necessary of gods, and his duties include protecting the village, blessing the people, and taking care of livestock, bridges, and fields. You can see Tu Di Gong's temples everywhere in Taiwan, and he is the local believer's recourse in times of trouble. There is a saying in Taiwanese: "From the top to the bottom of the field is Tu Di Gong." The meaning of this is that Tu Di Gong is everywhere, and his tablets and statues can even be found in cemeteries. It could be said that he is the spirit that protects the community.
8. Q: 為什麼商人不拜土地婆呢? Why don't businessmen pray to the Tu Di Gong's Wife?
A: 由於土地公樂善好施, 喜歡幫助窮人, 所以玉皇大帝派祂下凡, 來當人民的守護神. 可是一同來到人間的土地婆卻有不同想法, 土地婆覺得人們想要變得有錢, 就要自己努力工作, 不能只靠神明保佑, 而且土地婆不喜歡土地公凡事都要管. 據說每個月的農曆初二, 十六, 是土地婆固定回娘家的日子, 因此商人會趁此時祭拜土地公, 向祂求財, 不用擔心被土地婆破壞, 這也是 "做牙" 的由來. Tu Di Gong is very charitable and enjoys helping people, so the Jade Emperor sent him to earth so that he could offer his spiritual protection to the people. But Tu Di Gong's wife, who arrived in our world at the same time, has a different way of thinking. Tu Di Gong's wife thinks that if people want to become rich, they should work harder, and not rely on the gods' blessings. She also doesn't like Tu Di Gong to be so busy all the time.
It is said that during the second and sixteenth days of each lunar month, she returns to her parents' house, and for this reason businessmen use these two days to worship Tu Di Gong, and to ask him for wealth. During these two days they don't need to worry that Tu Di Gong's wife will spoil their wishes. From this custom comes the "Dzuo Ya" (Wei Ya) celebration.8
Related Entries 相關的文章:
What's Going On In Taitung 台東最近發生的事
台灣各地的地名由來 (台東縣) The Origin of Every Place Name in Taiwan (Taitung County)
台東的鯉魚山傳奇 "The Legend of Taitung's Carp Mountain"
1. 天 means "sky" or "heaven." 公 implies "male." His name could be translated as "Heavenly Father," or "Heavenly Man." Sounds very Catholic, doesn't it?
2. Since many of the Chinese people who "settled" Taiwan were seafaring people, Matsu has a long history here. She could be described as a sea goddess.
3. Most aptly described as a temple procession. The "Rao Jing" term is specific to the goddess Matsu.
4. As it turns out, I've been to both of these. Going to the one in Da Jia is a traffic nightmare, but I highly recommend the one in Beigang. It's like seeing a whole other side of Taiwan.
5. 千里眼 is probably better translated as "Chien Li Yan," but his name is so fun that I couldn't resist. Ditto for 順風耳 or "Shuen Feng Er."
6. "Tu Di Gong" could also be referred to as the "Earth God." 土地 means "earth," and again 公 implies maleness. The trouble with referring to him as the Earth God is the fact that there are other, lesser known earth gods.
7. 福德正神. 福 means "prosperity." 德 means "kindness" or "compassion. 正神 could be translated as "true spirit."
8. From this "Wei Ya" celebration comes the yearly dinner that employers in Taiwan offer their employees. The phrase "Wei Ya" comes from 尾牙, the second of the two 牙 (ya) celebrations honoring Tu Di Gong each month. The dinner is traditionally offered during the last of the yearly "Wei Ya" celebrations each year. "Dzuo Ya" refers to both days, "Wei Ya" only to the second of the two.