Handbook on Religion in China
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Handbook on Religion in China

Edited by Stephan Feuchtwang

Informative and eye-opening, the Handbook on Religion in China provides a uniquely broad insight into the contemporary Chinese variations of Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. In turn, China's own religions and transmissions of rites and systems of divination have spread beyond China, a progression that is explored in detail across 19 chapters, written by leading experts in the field.
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Chapter 7: Temples and festivals in rural and urban China

Adam Yuet Chau


Temples house, and festivals celebrate, gods that are reputed to be efficacious and to whom wishes and gratitude, individual and communal, are addressed. Although temple rituals may be officiated by Daoist or Buddhist ritual experts, and their deities are more or less associated with one or the other tradition, their initiation is by personal devotion, by popular memory since the mass destruction of temples ended, or by religious entrepreneurs. Festivals for celebrating and showing gratitude to a local god take place whether or not the god has a temple built for them. They are popular institutions in both the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan. This chapter gives details of an example in northern China, to which it adds others, such as pilgrimage festivals and visits of gods to each other’s festivals, all enhanced by total sensory stimulation and commercial vitality.

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