Rebellious Monkey King Is Honoured On His Birthday
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The Birthday of the Monkey King is a lively, bustling celebration in honour of the mischievous and rebellious sage made famous by the Ming dynasty novel Journey to the West.
On the 16th day of the eighth month in the Lunar calendar, the local Chiu Chow community in Hong Kong celebrates the Birthday of the Monkey King with the merry Monkey King Festival.
The festival celebrating the Monkey King, Tai Shing (Cai4 Tin1 Daai6 Sing3 齊天大聖): Great Sage, Equal of Heaven, includes aspects of Chinese shamanism, with spirit mediums and superhuman feats such as the cutting of tongues, walking on burning coals and climbing a tower of knives. These spirit mediums become possessed by the spirit of the Monkey King, and perform these acts and ordeals symbolising the tribulations faced by the Monkey King on his Journey to the West.
The Monkey King is well-loved by the Chiu Chow people for his rebellious and mischievous character, hinting at their disdain towards the government in the Ming Dynansty, when the Monkey King first came to prominence. Today, people mainly remember the Monkey King by burning incense and paper offerings during his festival.