Photographs and Information about Taiwan's Culture, Nature and People by Rich Matheson

Sacrificial Pigs, God Pigs and Festivals 神豬

Today, on the sixth day of the Chinese New Year and an auspicious day for sacrifices, I will write a bit about pig sacrifices.

Pigs are a very important part of most traditional Taiwanese (including Aboriginal, see here and here) festivals. Pictured above is the hide of a giant pig, stretched and loaded on a specially decorated truck. These are called ‘god pigs’ (神豬) and are often displayed at festivals. Taiwanese festivals tend to be very competitive and the more and bigger pigs they have, the better.

This is a pig at a Pudu. Most Pudu’s have sacrificial pigs for gods and ghosts to feed on because in ancient times pigs were scarce and valuable, so the best things to offer to show sincerity and respect. At countryside festivals there are often row upon row of pigs splayed out on tables in large fields.

Incense sticks are usually stuck into the pigs in any convenient holes, usually the nostrils or mouths. The red markings presumably give information about where and when the pigs were killed. Here I can make out ‘something product’, ‘sanitary’ and ‘passed’.

The sacrifices are always eaten by people after the ghosts or gods have had their fill. This is often deduced by asking via ‘bwei.’ This pig is starting to look a bit rough, but it will surely be tasty if prepared well.

This is the full view of the god-pig sacrifice at a Tainan, Annan temple festival.

God pigs can often be seen at Hakka Yimin temples around the island, especially during ghost month, with origins dating back to an 1785 rebellion against the Qing Dynasty.

The most famous god pig display is a competition in Sanxia, Taipei in the Zushi Temple (袓師廟) on the day of Ching-Shui Grand Master ‘s (清水祖師) death,  the sixth day of the first lunar month.

The most controversial is The God of  Pig Competition in Hsinchu every September, but apparently banned in 2007.

For more stories on the controversial god pigs, see here and here.

Here is a list of times and places to see big pigs(I asked where you can see god pigs on a yahoo question area and someone came back with this comprehensive answer):

農曆正月初6三峽祖師廟
正月13大溪瑞源宮
正月13龍潭三坑永福宮
正月16大溪永昌宮
2月11大溪福仁宮
2月15平鎮建安宮
3月15蘆洲保和宮
3月15三芝淡水八庄大道公
3月17(不固定但是都再這段期間)竹林山四巡迴
9年坪位(今年林口小南灣)
3月19中壢大崙崇德宮
4月26龍潭龍元宮
7月初9頭份永貞宮
7月11楊梅富岡集義祠
7月11關西金錦山義民廟
7月13龍潭龍元宮
7月14新屋長祥宮
7月15大園仁壽宮
7月15大園福海宮
7月15八德玉元宮
7月17芎林廣福宮
7月18觀音甘泉寺
7月19觀音保障宮
7月20平鎮.新竹.嘉義.高雄義民廟
7月20中壢仁海宮
7 月26關西太和宮
8月14八德寶仁寺觀音佛祖巡迴
8月15竹北聯華寺
9月15竹林山寺巡迴坪位
9 月19竹林山寺直屬平位
10月初2龍潭三角林三元宮
10月12龍潭大坪永和宮

之後立冬各廟不定期健醮
都有神豬, After Lidong(The year is divided into 24 sections, Li dong is the start of winter and a traditional time for temple festivals as farmers have lots of spare time) every temple holds  Jianjiaow and many have God Pigs.

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2 responses

  1. John Kieschnick

    These are very useful pictures for teaching and I especially like your photos of moon blocks. I hope you don’t mind that I have been using them in presentations in one of my classes (on religion and Chinese material culture). I of course provide students with a link to your blog. Thanks!

    September 27, 2011 at 3:45 am

    • Hi John,
      I’m pleased you find it useful and you may continue using anything on my site for educational material. I appreciate that you are giving credit. If you have any photo requests, please let me know!
      Rich

      September 27, 2011 at 5:14 am

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