Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Belief and Customs of Chu Tai Sin






    The belief and customs of Chu Tai Sin is a tradition among some of the local fishermen. Every year in the fifth month of the chinese lunar calendar, believers gather for the rite of water "jiao" dedicated to Chu Tai Sin, praying for safety in both water and land, which takes place for two days and two nights at the sea adjacent to the Inner Harbour area.

     

    Introduced in the 1920s from the Longquan Monastery in Huizhou city of Guangdong province, Chu Tai Sin is believed to be a deity of medicine.  Through transmissions and developments in nearly a hundred years of time, the deity has become a patron god for multiple causes with a hybrid nature of Buddhist and Taoist beliefs and customs. Referring to this deity as the “Godfather”, believers make divinations to seek for holy advices at important occasions and they keep Chu Tai Sin statues on board or at homes for worship. The largest ritual of the belief is the annual water "jiao" taking place on the fifth month of the chinese lunar calendar. Toss divinations of "jiaobei" would be made for decisions on the dates of rites and the particular fishing boat for hosting the key altar, etc.. The venue of the rite is formed by several connected boats. Major parts of the rite includes consecration of statues, offering to all deities, feeding the ghosts at the rite venue and at a boat making a short sail around the Inner Harbour, ceremony of passing through gates, and "revolutions" for good luck, etc.. The rite of "jiao" for Chu Tai Sin is the only water "jiao" existing in Macao and is one of the big traditional events of the local fishing community, reflecting characteristics of their lives.


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