Saturday, 8 March 2014

Beating 'petty people' or Da Siu Yan (打小人)

The petty people-hitting ceremony, or da siu yan, is an ancient custom dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). This ritual is relatively short in duration but nevertheless quite interesting.

This custom can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

What is Jingzhe 驚蟄?

The ancient Chinese had divided the year into 24 Solar Terms. These solar terms have matches a particular astronomical event or signifies some natural phenomenon.

Jingzhe  is the third of 24 solar terms in the Chinese lunar calendar, and comes in the month of March 5, 6 or 7 of each year. This indicate the awakening of hibernating insects and animals. The best day for 2014 to perform this ritual is said to be the six day of the second month in the Chinese Lunar Year or  6/03/2014. It refers to the day when the Sun is at a celestial longitude of 345 degrees.

The farmers would calculate the most suitable time by referring the Chinese Almanac, it has been of great importance to the people of the Orient since ancient times.
 Even today, Chinese throughout the ages still consulted the Tung Shing to inform their decisions on when is the best time of the day. Farmers would eagerly offer up his gift on the altar at the altar and prayer can be prayed to rid of their enemies or anything that would hold them back from reaping the fruits of reward.

According to legend, a mythical white tiger will open its mouth on that day and is at its hungriest which is also the day of insects  are awaken.

In the ancient days at the end of winter during Jingzhe, temperature is likely to get warmer. The traditional culture said that, thunderstorms would awake the hibernated insects and animals.  It was customary in order to repel hatching insects or animals, those folk burn incense and mug wort.

Over time this tradition has evolved into da siu yan or beating petty little people which is belief you will be protected from harm by using an old, worn-out shoe to hit the "petty persons".

The so-called "petty persons" may assume the form of ghosts or evil spirits that exercise supernatural power to harm on people, or they may be human beings i.e. trouble-makers, rumour-mongers, gossipers, and busy bodies. Literally translated, the Cantonese term “siu yan” (小人) is “little people”.

This ritual  ritual can be performed all year round, however the best time of year is this period during Jingzhe. The ceremony is usually performed at a crossroad, under a bridge, road-side, street corner, or near a hill as they say evil spirits linger in dark places.
Villain hitting is often done in gloomy places such as somewhere under a flyover.

Doing a brisk business during Jingzhe.

The custom of making offerings to the White Tiger (祭白虎) and Da Siu Yan (打小人) or beating petty little people was originated from folk religion in Guangdong Province(Canton). This culture was later expanded by those migrated to Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Malaysia.

In the beginning of those days, it was mostly carry out by the Cantonese group only. As times goes by,other Chinese dialect groups followed this practise, as well.

If there is something strange in the neighbourhood,  Who can you call? Ghostbusters! but if you are suffering a spate of bad luck lately or everything seems to go wrong. Who you gonna call? No.. not Ghostbuster but you can engage a wu 巫 "spirit medium( shaman) who are usually old ladies and known as “bai shen po” (拜神婆), meaning old ladies who are paid to pray for others.

Often done in gloomy places such as somewhere under somewhere under an overpass. In Hong Kong, Ngo Keng Kiu, or Canal Road Flyover, between Causeway Bay and Wan Chai  is the most popular place for this activity. 

She performs the ritual on request from aggrieved parties. Those came for help because of several reasons, maybe they encounter health problems or family problems that they cannot cope with and feel trapped and hopeless. When they had suffered a spell of bad luck which they believed is the result from ill-will by others. As a last resort, they turn to religious ritual of "da siu yan" for alternative treatment.

Science cannot provide answers on how to reverse ones fortune by pushing away bad luck , magic follows no rules at all, therefore science will never be able to explain it.

The Jingzhe ritual, therefore, entails Zae Baak Fu and Da Siu Yan.

Beating petty little people can be just cursing generally or curse someone, specifically. Some people reckon that cursing generally is more effective as it covers whoever is trying to harm you, including those you are not aware of.

The Ritual of Sacrifice to Bái Hǔ and Da Siu Yan

The ritual is not complex. Certain steps need to be strictly adhered to make a ritual successful, however.

Jingzhe is also the day of the White Tiger opening its mouth (白虎开口日). There is the traditional belief that the White Tiger will be looking for prey on Jingzhe, as well as opening its mouth to bite people.

Devotees pay homage to the White Tiger deity shall not Address him as Bai Hu Ye (白虎爺), this form of tittle can be considered disrespectful. The correct or proper way we shall address him as Bi Hu Ye (碧虎爺) or “Tiger Master” , in Hokkien is Pit Hor Ya (not Pak Hor Ya).

Report (稟告):The ritual itself comprises several steps. Both the “villain hitters” and their clients must worship deities at the shrines. The medium then asks the gender identity of the petty persons whom the aggrieved wants to punish. Villain paper can also replaced by other forms such as man villain paper, woman villain paper, five ghost paper etc. Put down the name and the client birth date on the Fu or paper talisman (符籙). What if there was no specific “villain" in mind, otherwise, a “general villain” is used. (This is a group of people may  be harmful to the client)

The ceremony will commence with a pair of red candles and three joss sticks are lit. Spirit medium perform her prayers and then make fruit offerings to the two gods Sun Wukong [also known as the Monkey King] and Guanyin [one of the four goddesses in Chinese Buddhism] placed in a open-ended red cabinet.

Sacrifice to Bái Hǔ (祭白虎): A sacrifice of food or money is to appease or maintain favour with to the white tiger deity Bi Hǔ, so that he does not inflict physical harm upon the beater.
A yellow paper tiger is use to depict deity, there are black stripes on the paper tiger with set of protruding front teeth in its mouth.

The paper White Tiger has to be feed by brushed it on a piece of pork fat, symbolise feeding the tiger.
The purpose is to seal the mouth of the White Tiger to prevent it from doing any harm on the aggrieved again. When it is full, it will not hurt people.
Eggs are used to rub the tiger's mouth

'Feed Me!!' - Tiger has to be feed by brushed it on a piece of pork fat

Villain hitting (打小人):After praying, she will place the petty people paper figure on the brick and uses an old shoe or shoe of clients to hit on it or hurt the petty people paper while chanting canticles.
 Hit or hurt the villain paper. True Believers say the ritual can help to drive away evil spirits in general, or a particular adversary such as a despise neighbour, a business competitor or a love rival.

Wu Gui, the "Five Ghosts"—It brings betrayal, gossip, rumours, backstabbing, the presence of petty people, and even subterfuge or sabotage. Wu Gui can also cause disloyalty and discord among family members.

Fresh eggs and tofu bean curd are often part of the offerings made.

The paper figure will then be placed near the mouth of the paper tiger, signifying the “little people” being bitten in the tiger’s mouth and hence unable to do any more harm. These two items will be burned together with the Five-devil paper.

Reconciliation (化解):

Pray for blessings (祈福):Use a red Gui Ren paper to pray for blessings and help from Gui Ren. (noblemen or people who save us from hopeless situation)
Treasure Burning (進寶):Burn the paper-made-treasure to worship the spirits。
Zhi Jiao (擲筊) (or so-called "cup hitting" [打杯]):Zhi Jiao, to cast two crescent-shaped wooden piece to undergo the Zhi Jiao ceremony.
 After paying tributes to gods like “Guan Yin” or the “Goddess of Mercy” and “Sun Wukong” - the “Monkey King”, the hitter makes circles around the client’s head with the burning tiger effigy and throws it into a fire.

At  the end of the ritual, the final step involves the tossing of jiaobei to confirm whether the “little people” has or have been eliminated.  The “villain hitter” casts two kidney-shaped divination blocks, known as “sheng bei” on the ground. One must be flipped over, and the other down, to signify that the “villains” have been cursed.
The divination procedure has to be repeated until a positive ‘yes’ reply is obtained.The whole ceremony will end with the customer thanking the Goddess of Mercy.

After some chanting, the good-luck charms will also be burned.The bai shen po will then scatter the green beans and rice grains in different directions to represent the dispersing of her customer’s “petty little people”

Need to get God's blessings. Confirmation is the best way to verify that the message you have received is from God.

Jiaobei blocks or moon blocks (筊杯, jiǎo bēi, lit. "bamboo cups") are wooden divination tools originating from China, which are used in pairs and thrown to answer a yes or no question.

If you are in need of prayer, please post your request, does not, of itself, determine whether or not God hears us.

It is one of the more commonly used items found in Chinese traditional religion and are used in temples and home shrines along with fortune sticks, both of which are often used together when requesting an answer from the gods. four possible answers that the jiaobei blocks can produce:

Shèngjiǎo (聖筊, divine answer): One block flat and another block round is a 'yes' answer.

Nùjiǎo (怒筊, angry answer) also kūjiao (哭筊, crying answer): Both blocks round says 'no' answer. It is said that the gods are annoyed by the question, and is display in the way the blocks directly fall flat on the floor.


Xiàojiǎo (笑筊, laughing answer): Both blocks flat have different explanations; either it can be an highlight 'no' is the answer and a indication that the gods are laughing at the dumb question, or that they are laughing because the seeker knows the answer to his or her question. One typical of this answer is when the blocks rocking back and forth when dropped, a suggestive show of laughter...."haha, I'm so rolling on the floor laughing"

Lìjiǎo (立筊, standing answer): One or both blocks fall but stand erect on the floor point out that the deities do not perceive the intended meaning, therefore the question is void and the method must be recurring.

It would be easier if  she could just flip or toss a coin, it will come up a head or a tail. If its Heads: Yes, If its Tails: No.

 Many people misunderstand the meaning of the practise as a move to curse the enemies so that bad luck would befall them. Those worshippers of voodoo during services casting evil spells to bring total chaos to your enemies or someone you hate.

Otherwise, Da Siu Yan (打小人) ritual will not actually hurt your enemy unlike voodoo, Its purpose is to bless someone with good luck, good fortune and good health. Also is a great form of stress relief, and that's no joke!

When  ceremony is performed at the temple, the last thing to do is get your Chinese "guardian Angel" , glue that holds them together and paste them as high as possible on a designated wall. The higher you able to place it on the wall, increase your chance of getting aspiration.

 Kway Yan Lok Mah (2 effigies depict your guardian angel riding on a green horse that will take you higher to your aspirations). 

Tales of the Dark 1 (迷离夜) is a 2013 Hong Kong movie with trilogy of shorts in the horror anthology. 

My favourite of part is the last film, "Jing Zhe" by Fruit Chan. On  a spooky night, the ghost of a young woman walks down this street late at night near the area with only a single shoe where an an elderly woman earns a living by chanting and to constantly beating a paper effigy with a shoe.
As the story unfolds it develops and become known who are the identities of the four people - three men and a woman, (her 'petty people' ) she asked 'villian hitter' to curse on.The female apparition who appeared from nowhere seeking retribution on her wrongdoers.

Actresses Dada Chen and Siu Yam Yam (above) are believable as a sad ghost and granny who practises folk sorcery.

Frenzied shoe hitting ensues, first at the hands of the old woman and then at the hands of the vengeful spirit.
“Bai shen po” (拜神婆) with the sounds of  own personal rhythmic. May I have the beating done in the style of blues? Nope they beat the shoe hard with its upbeat tempo.

Would it be cool to have a Chinese rap "da siu yan" song like…

I  Told You Villain Don't You Ever Come Around Here

Don't Wanna See Your Evil Face, You Better Fast Disappear

Or I’ll Beat you or hit you with my old smelly shoe.. So beat it,just beat it

and I’ll wrap the sheet with a paper tiger and burn you into flames.. Ha Ha Ha

Beat it, beat it, beat it

My Words Are Really Clear, You better run, you better do what I say or..

 I beat you till you have no air left to breath... Ha Ha Ha

So Beat It, Just Beat It.

You Better Run fast , You Better Do What Say.. or else I Beat it, beat it, beat it

My friend, Heng talks about his friend true experience with Da Siu Yan. ... share this story ...

When it comes to dealing with a malicious co-worker, some of us prefer to go head to head for confrontation, while others try to keep a philosophical method. Believing in Da Siu Yan folk sorcery, he go to “bai shen po” (拜神婆)" for help. Rather than get into a physical fight he sought her services to release anger and stress.

OK, who put a Chinese Voodoo curse on me? 
The next day, his enemy the co-worker went to work with an injury on his face. He explained to some of friends that he has no idea how but when he woke up with a swollen lip.

He was puzzled how his spell of 'Da Siu Yan' on his adversary really work? Perhaps it's was just simply a coincident, or perhaps not so ! ..

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