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Folk Customs

Yongding Hukeng 'Blessing Rite'


Yongding Hukeng 'Blessing Rite'

The "Blessing Rite" held by the Li's in Yongding Hukeng every three years is famous throughout the country. The ritual consists of a folk idol procession held from Sept 11 to 16 of the lunar calendar, after the Double Ninth Festival.

Li, a popular surname, represents the historical Hukeng Hakka migration from the Central Plains.

According to legend, in the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), a plague epidemic swept through Hukeng and killed many people. One day, five kids from Hukeng took a bath in the river and became possessed by fairy spirits. Muttering incantations, they jumped up to Maer Palace beside the stream and said a life-protecting god shall be invited to subdue the plague on Sept 15 of the lunar calendar. In preparation, the villagers should fast for five days beforehand. Villagers did as they were told, and the plague eventually receded.

In appreciation for the kindness of the life-protecting god, villagers perform a drama to worship the god after the Double Ninth Festival every year in gratitude, praying for safety and peace.