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Sunday, July 7, 2013
Rites & Gods of Chinese Pear Orchid
The pear orchid (梨園) is also known as Chinese
opera communities; Cantonese opera (粵劇) and The Hokkian opera (閩劇) are two main Chinese opera
schools. So, let’s take a look at the basic rites of these two main groups.
According to Mr. Ong, The Hokkien
opera is the oldest among others according to Chinese history. Hokkien,
Teowchew and Hainan operas begin by an offering ritual to the “8 fairies” while
the Cantonese opera begins with a “ministers of six countries” ritual.
The god of Cantonese opera (粵劇)
Hua Kuang Emperor (華光大帝) belongs to the god of the south and he is mainly
worshipped by the Cantonese opera as the founder of the opera. It is believed
that Hua Kuang can prevent fire incidents in the opera theatre.
It is a custom for the
Cantonese opera crews to make handsome offerings to Hua Kuang (拜華光) prior to any opera
performance at anytime and at any place. The insider believed mishaps will
occur if the offering ritual is omitted intentionally or unintentionally.
Legend has it that the
association of Cantonese opera is also known as the association of viburnum
flower (瓊花會館) because Hua Kuang has once created havoc in the
Jade Emperor’s viburnum party (瓊花會). The main hall that houses Hua Kuang statue is also known as the
palace of viburnum (瓊花宮).
The gods of Hokkian opera (閩劇)
The Hokkian opera can be
subdivided into two schools and majority of them worship the Tiandou general:
oThe Fuzhou opera folks worship Tiandou general (田都元帥)
oThe Northern band music (北管樂)
§Xipi (西皮): This group worships
§Fulu (福祿): This group worships
oThe Southern band music (南管樂)
§The guardian deity
is Tiandou general (田都元帥)
All of the opera groups
will need to make offerings to the selected grandmaster and patron gods and
goddesses, including the so call the worship of “white tiger” (拜白虎) at the beginning and
ending of opera performances. The “white tiger” in this context simply means
the local and wandering spirits.