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

Techno Nezha Great God General 電音三太子

哪吒三太子 (Né​zha​ sān​tài​zǐ​)

Here are some photos of Xinying SanTaiTz Temple’s first annual techno Santaitz dance competition (首屆電音三太子擂台賽). Techno Santaitz is the evolution of Taiwan’s traditional folk religion’s “Great God Generals (大仙尪仔 or 神將); large puppets in the image of gods worn on the shoulders by bearers. Traditional Santaitz(Third Prince) Great God Generals come in groups of three and are often called 童仔隊 (tongzai troupes). The three characters depict Nezha’s older brothers Jinzha (金吒太子) and Muzha (木吒太子) with Nezha being the youngest but most important.In Recent years youth bearing Santaitz Great God Generals changed the traditional step into a twirling techno dance step which was adopted by Taiwanese youth in a grassroots Taike movement. The God Generals look changed too. He became cuter; larger dimples, pacifier and bottle, and cutsey poses, etc. He is now very popular in all levels of Taiwanese society as well as making appearances on the international scene. Notably, Chio-tian has performed Techno Santaitz dances overseas and part of the opening performance of the World Games of 2009 in Kaohsiung was scooter riding Nezhas.

It is said that this naughty child god Nezha was able to change age old tradition primarily because he is an irreverent and rash god. Other Great God generals are now following suit.

The myths and legends surrounding Taiwanese gods are always interesting  and San Tai Tz  is no exception. Here is an excerpt from Donnelly’s Gods of Taiwan, “He was said to have been born miraculously after his mother had been impregnated by T’ai I Jen, a Taoist priest-magician. Gestation lasted two and a half years, after which she gave birth to a scented flesh ball illuminated by a red halo. Li Ching slashed the repulsive creature with his sword. A boy emerged wearing a red silk apron that emitted rays of dazzling light. A golden bracelet circled his wrist. ” The eventful but short life of the Third Prince is fancifully and elegantly written in “The Investiture of the Gods”, a classic Chinese novel about the defeat of King Chou of the Shang by King Wu of the Chou in about 2100 B.C.The festival was great, although I was only able to attend the first day and missed the actual competition. There were also other traditional performances, Chio-tian Drumming, music, etc.  Sorry Sorry sung by Super Junior, the popular Korean band, was the required song to dance to. Needless to say it became very tiring. Let’s hope competitiors can choose their own song this year.

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