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Villagers seek blessings at Tangjia Three Temples

Updated: May 16, 2017 Print
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Kam Fa Birthday folk cultural activities kicked off with traditional Lingnan-style lion dances at the Three Temples in Tangjiawan Town on May 12. Celebrations then continued throughout the 17th day of the fourth lunar month.


Lion dances [Photo by Cheng Lin / Zhujiang Evening Post]

The Kam Fa Birthday celebration originated in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and became popular in the late Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China (1912-1949) period in Tangjia Village. The folk culture with rich local features and cultural connotations is a ritual for locals who pray for fertility, safety, happiness, and marriage. With over 200 years of history, the festival was designated a city-level intangible cultural heritage in 2012.

It was the first celebration after provincial, municipal, and district governments jointly invested about 8 million yuan ($1.16 million) to renovate Tangjia Three Temples with altars and couplets added and the Buddha statue repainted.

Villagers cleaned the goddess statue and the shrine on the 17th day of the lunar month, the birthday of Goddess Kam Fa, also known as Holy Empress Jin Hua. They set up a table and placed roasted pigs, flowers, refreshments, and other sacrifices upon it. Led by a venerable villager, women payed respect to the goddess and prayed to be blessed in giving birth and for the safety of children. The rite was resumed in 2010.

Kam Fa Temple in the center of centuries-old Tangjia Town was built in 1779 and rebuilt in 1863. A two-room building with a courtyard in between and a hard roof, the temple has a central incense burner and is dedicated to the Kam Fa empress. Kam Fa Temple stands in a line with the Templa and Man Mo temples at what is called Three Temples or Tangjia Three Temples.

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