When it comes to temple fair, it is common to see people rush to Qi Ye (the 7th lord) asking for salty cookies for children. It is believed that Qi Ye hangs a string of salty cookies that who ever eats them may gain extra protection from gods. There are many different kinds of Shen Wang[1](Taoist idol). For example, Qi Ye (the 7th lord), Ba Ye (the 8th lord), Kang Chao general, God of earth, Qian li yan (a farsighted god), and Shun Feng er (a well-informed god). When actors performed these gods in temple fairs, they usually walk in an exaggerated position, and weaving hands all the time. Gi Tong (a psychic who is allowed to be temporally possessed by gods) would patrol in the troop and this role is essential in the ceremony. A Gi Tong usually wears a piece of cloth that are decorated with beads and spangles and carries all kinds of weapons. Gi Tong may have his eyes half closed and hit himself with the weapons carried. This is a manifestation of possession of gods to show people that nothing could of hurt this body. However, flesh body is, in fact, can be damaged by sharp weapons and the god actor can be hurt. Therefore, there are always people stand behind the god actor and sprinkle rice wine onto the actors.

  There are two parts of Shih Gang Zi Xiang. One is Gua-xiang (share of incense) and the other Wang-qiao. Gua-xiang can be divided into three sections: to go south patrol in Tainan area, to go to Lu-er-men to greet Matu onto the shrine and three days of Rao-jing( territorial circumventing ceremony/routes taking). Many of the villagers are connected by blood or by their geographical features. These villages work together to share a common sense of culture. It is an organization of Jiao Jin (a form of scarf). There are four different kinds of Jiao jin in Shih Gang: the red, the yellow, the blue and the green.


Ku-hau station. Performer are energetic
 and the music is full of musical affections.

Wu-hu-ping-xi station is reorganized from a story
in Tong dynasty.

1. Wen station (Civil Feng Shui station)

(1) The centipede station
 This is a station where specifically active in south-west area in Taiwan. A parade with a centipede station is determined to be Gua-xiang rather than Rao-jing. Recently, there are more and more centipede stations in Shih Gang area. The centipede station is believed to be the head station led by Qian Sui god. One person can stop to go underneath the centipede station and may gain protection from gods.
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(2) Tan-zi-men-shen (Student of the King) station
 Tan-zi-men-shen was a man named Zheng Yuan-he who had failed in official examines and was saved by street beggars. When he finally passed the examine, he earned himself the third place of competition. He was granted as Tan-zi-men-shen after he was dead. The beggars who took care of Zheng thus see themselves as Tan-zi-men-shen. This station is popular in Tainan area and it performs mostly music.

(3) The civil officer station
 This is a station that are made by beggars, just like Tan-zi-men-shen. It is also believed to be relevant to Zheng Yuan-he. It is more like a simplified station that performs music and songs. Only Zheng-shan temple in Tainan has this kind of simplified station.
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(4) Nan-guan station
 Nan-guan station is a station of music which was used to perform indoors. The devices performed included all different kinds of instruments. Often, clarinet and moon guitar are performed to make the music local featured.

(5) Ba-mei-tu station
 Ba-mei-tu is a picture of people in Hangchow holding a competition of recruiting suitable persons to marry princesses (seven princesses and one maid). People in Taiwan also establish two teams to participate such a recruitment. Later, these two teams became groups of performance for arts. They are organized in Chia-li and Xue-jia.
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(6) Su-lan station
 This is a station where the bride is sitting on the sedan chair in a traditional wedding. Nowadays, it is hard to imagine such a scenery. A traditional wedding station includes couples of brides and grooms walking on the streets followed by little children. There are some match-makers in the station too. People play drums and music. The young generation see this as a fair that is related to old times.

(7) Ku-hua station
 This station is originally reorganized through Liang-shan (umbrella) dance in Fujain, China. Liang-shan dance was a dance for crop harvest. Usually, there are eight people in the team that play four parts: the head flag, the drums, the Liang-shan, and the gongs. It is performed in square arrangement while the drum is operated in the middle of the formation. The performance is vividly played and is a great entertainment.
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(8) Niu-li station
 This is a station of performing rural-agricultural life. The buffalos in rual life are replaced with fake ones in the station. It includes an old couple, three farmers, three country women, a fake buffalo (man play). These characters talk and sing together. Sometimes, they flirt with each other. The couples are funny characters and they bring the high time of the play.

(9) Shui-zu (aquarium) station
 Shui-zu station is play of all different kinds of animals under water. There are carps, crabs, shrimps, clam, and turtles. Some of the characters are transformed into spirits or gods. The costumes they wear are luxuriant. The station mostly starts with turtles and the rest follow.
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(10) Wu-hu-ping-xi (Five tigers) station
 In Xue Jia Xiang, people can watch a station of art with five persons dress up with ancient clothes sitting on horses. In Shih Gang, there is another kind of Wu-hu-ping-xi station. This one is from Po An temple and is a performance of horse riding.


A civil station – the centipede station in holy pilgrimage

Blue scarf from Pu-hu temple. This is a Song-jiang station aged more than one hundred years.

2. Wu station (Martial station)

(1) Song-jiang station
  This station is a big group in south Taiwan and includes 36 people. Feng-tan-du-yuan is the master of this troop. Everyone in this station hold weapons when performing. Usually, there are lions (man play) in the performance. In holy pilgrimage, Song-jiang station plays a role of social order controlling and purifying houses.
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(2) Ba-jia-jiang (the eight generals) station
  This group is made up with 8 to 12 people. Thus, it is named “the eight generals” or “the ten generals”. In ten generals station, there are the tenth general, the civil general, the martial general, Kan-liu general, Qi-ye (the 7th lord), Ba-ye (the 8th lord), the civil-martial judge, and the four season generals. The eight generals are stations of social order controlling. Sometimes, the generals can perform rituals to purify human bodies which are believed to be possessed by ghost or are negatively affected by evils.

(3) Golden lion station
  Golden lion station performs mainly in Shih Gang. There are usually more than five teams of golden lion stations in Shih Gang. Functionally speaking, golden lion team practices similarly with Song-jiang station. The difference lies in the lion head character is played in golden lion station whereas the flag character is played in Song-jiang station. The lion is commonly performed by a child who dresses up with a red apron and stands on an adult’s shoulder. This child usually waves his/her hand with pom-poms.
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(4) Bullfight
  This is a station that performs a show of bulls and their owners. Every owner in the station is trying to protect his/her own bull and thus beats other people’s bulls. Bull owners quarrel and fight with each other. Sometime, they fire crackers and cause a huge mess. However, this performance of firecrackers often heat the atmosphere for audiences.
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(5) White crane station
  The only one white crane station is in Shih Gang. This station is from Bo An temple. This team is very close to golden lion station only the lion is replaced with a white crane and a child. The white crane and the golden lion are like brother teams. In Shih Gang, only the white crane station can be invited to “cross fire rituals”.

(6) Stilts station
  Stilts under 90 centimeters long are recognized as short ones. Those above 90 centimeters long are long ones. Long stilts are used to perform “the eight gods table” and “jumping benches”. These performers are highly skilled. Shows with dangerous actions are called “martial shows”. On the other hand, shows with delicate skills are called “civil shows”.
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 [1] Shen Wang are a mandarin term for god actors.
 

   
 

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