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Toushe Village Taizu Night Sacrifice

Toushe Village Taizu Night Sacrifice

Toushe Village is located near Danei Township in Tainan County

Toushe Village is located near Danei Township in Tainan County, in the Toushe Hills, a part of the Danei Hills located by the middle reaches of the Zengwen River. In the early nineteenth century, the Zengwen River was the only pathway by which the mountain region the Yujing Basin could be reached from Tainan, and Toushe Village was located at the first entrance to this pathway. In early times, it was known simply as "Toushe". The varying terrain of the hill region allowed for many communities to form. Toushe and the many neighboring communities were established through the migrations of the four main Siraya Tribes and the opening up of the land by the Han Chinese. This place is now called "Toushe Vil."

The Siraya religion

Every year during the tenth lunar month, a Taizu Night Sacrifice is held. This is an important traditional sacrifice of the Siraya Tribe. In recent years, traditional village culture has experienced more and more of a revival. This being the case, the holding of the Taizu Night Sacrifice not only preserves the traditional Pingpu culture, while culturally integrating Siraya religions beliefs with Han Chinese folk religion, it allows the people of Taiwan to understand the Pingpu culture. The Toushe villagers, eager to promote their traditions, have integrated the "Taizu Night Sacrifice" activities held by members of the Pingpu Tribe from other areas. Their "Tai-nei Industry Cultural Day" is an integration of the "Taizu Night Sacrifice" and "Local Industry", which promotes the development of village tourism and industry.

The night sacrifice procedures

The night sacrifice procedures are as follows:

  • The first day of the ninth lunar month - Opening the Heaven and Earth Siang Ceremony

    Before the yearly night sacrifice takes place, a ceremony occurs where Taizu opens the heaven and earth siang, which protect the villagers and their livestock.

  • The first day of the tenth lunar month – Opening Chant to Get Rid of the Old, and Decorate with the New

    The villagers sweep and clean the public sacrifice place and the ritual vessels on the altar. The water is changed, and new banana leaves are placed on top. Betel nuts are offered as a sacrifice. In past years, the thorough clean-up by all the villagers, which was well documented, resembled the Chinese New Year tradition to "get rid of the old, and decorate with the new."

  • The 14th day of the tenth lunar month

    Beginning at 5:00pm:

    The jitong (medium) performs a three "siang" ceremony, praying to all of the ritual vessels. After praying for blessings, he opens a jar of water, and the believers can drink the water from the jar. This will bring them protection.

    Beginning at 6:00pm: Offering the Pig

    In previous times, this ritual was called "Killing the Pig and Sacrificing the Lamb". This is the greatest honor one can pay the deities. In general, the sacrifice of the pig to thank the gods is done for various reasons: To pray for good health, for good fortune, and for everything to go smoothly. When the pig is offered, the jitong pours rice wine into the pig's mouth. He then reports to Taizu that this pig has been offered in thanks by a certain person, and asks for its acceptance by Taizu.

  • The 15th day of the tenth lunar month (12:00 midnight to 8:00 in the morning)

    Worship of Taigong and Taizu, sacrificing the pig, and singing chants.

    Opening of the blood jar:

    After the pig has been sacrificed, his blood is placed in a jar, and the jitong receives the pig's blood as Taizu's representative. He then drinks the raw blood and reports to Taizu the name of the person who has sacrificed the pig, and the reasons for making the sacrifice. After the pig has been turned over, a chant is sung, and the night sacrifice activities are finished.

  • The 15th day of the tenth lunar month (8:00 in the morning to 12:00 midnight)

    The chants sung every year are sung by the villagers in celebration. The purpose of singing the chants during the night sacrifice is to cherish the memory of the ancestors. After the night sacrifice, the Toushe villagers then invite their friends and family to celebrate Taizu's birthday together.

  • 12:00 midnight. The "Forbidding of the Siang" Ceremony, and the Conclusion of the night sacrifice

    After the "Forbid ding of the Siang" ceremony has been performed, the yearly night sacrifice is considered to be completed.