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Xúnshòu 巡狩 and Jìnxiāng 進香:

Two Kinds of Chinese Religious Processions
& Their Sociological Implications

(Corrected Version)
David K. Jordan

Abstract. This article examines the general proposition that religious activities often have the social-structural consequence of contributing to peacekeeping. Using ethnographic data gathered in Taiwan, three kinds of regional festivals are discussed: (1) those centering on an temple organizing villages around it, (2) those that rotate responsibility through a fixed set of sectors (both of these associated with a tour of inspection by a god around his territory), and (3) those involving pilgrimages from one temple to another. The three types of festivals are all found logically to affect regional social integration, but in contrasting ways. The implications of the differences for the role of temples as local peacekeeping political forces in Taiwan history are discussed.


  1. The General Problem
  2. The Specific Problem: Táiwān
    1. Types of Festival Organization
      1. Type I: The Tour of Inspection From a Central Temple
      2. Type II: The Tour of Inspection Through Rotating Sectors
      3. Type III: The Pilgrimage
  3. Conclusions
  4. Appendix: Patron Gods of Emigrant Groups
  5. Bibliography

Publication History. This paper was presented at the Second International Conference on Sinology, at Academia Sinica in Nángǎng 南港, Táiwān 臺灣, December 29-31, 1986. A version was published in Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Sinology. Taipei: Academia Sinica (pp. 255-270).

Changes in This Edition. The conference for which this paper was written occurred shortly after the Republic of China issued new government guidelines on the spelling of Chinese words in Roman letters. In the charter to the committee that created the system, it was provided that (1) it must not be the same as the Hànyǔ Pīnyīn 漢語拼音 system used on the Chinese mainland and internationally, and (2) it must not include tone in the spellings as had the former national standard (Gwoyeu Romatzyh). As finally enunciated, use of the new rules also included provision that Chinese place names would be frozen in the unsystematic "postal" spellings that were official in 1949, and that names of people would follow whatever spelling an individual preferred, or, failing that, should follow the older Wade-Giles system in preference to the new system.

Few people paid any attention to this absurd policy, but Academia Sinica is in the end a government agency, and my article, like others for the conference, was a victim of the policy, and was largely reedited to conform to a modification (!) of the new official standard. Hokkien terms were, happily, untouched, not being regarded as really Chinese, but Mandarin words were hashed to unrecognizability. I was sufficiently ashamed of the resultant idiotic mess that I never cited this paper or gave off-prints to colleagues.

I recently (2000) came upon an old computer file containing the original draft, with tonal spellings, although without characters, which had been written in by hand. The following version of the paper gives all Mandarin terms in Pīnyīn spellings. The original editors also deleted all Chinese characters from papers presented in languages other than Chinese. I have restored most of them here, although in a few cases I have lost track of them. I have made no other significant revisions and have not attempted to update the text or the bibliography.

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Xúnshòu 巡狩 and Jìnxiāng 進香:

Two Kinds of Chinese Religious Processions
& Their Sociological Implications

David K. Jordan (Footnote 1)

1. The general problem.

Because of its concern with a moral community, religion is often regarded as having peacekeeping as one of its by-products. Some religious systems directly teach that human cooperation and harmony are goals in themselves. However, there are indirect contributions that religion can also make to peacemaking that do not directly proceed from religious ideology. Although religious customs are presumably performed for their intended religious effects, it is nevertheless useful to examine their various unintended social effects. Human societies often maintain cooperative relations between and among different groups, in part because of customs that do not have peacekeeping as their intentional effect. In this paper I shall be concerned with the non-religious, unintended (but often well appreciated) local political effects of religious activity. (Footnote 2)

I conceive of the general model this way:

1 Large-scale activity requires broad participation.

Large-scale religious activity, requiring participation of large numbers of people, presumes willingness on the parts of the participants to cooperate with each other at least minimally. (Differently structured activities require, of course, different degrees and kinds of cooperation.) I envision a large regional festival, with many villages participating, as a typical example.

2 The threat of non-cooperation produces anxiety.

The threat of non-cooperation by some participants causes the other participants anxiety. There are three reasons why I think this is so.

3 Anxiety leads to mediation.

Anxiety caused by threatened non-participation leads to attempts at intervention and persuasion to prevent the uncooperative groups or individuals from disrupting the activity by non-participation. These efforts, to be effective, often must confront the underlying dissatisfactions that led to defection in the first place. When those dissatisfactions are group conflicts of one kind or another, the intervention by co-religionists produces dispute mediation. (E.g., village A refuses to cooperate with village B because of a feud over the theft of a cow; and village C proposes mediation or supports one or the other party in order to gain or force the continued participation of both villages A and B in an annual harvest festival.)

4 Structure has effects.

The extent to which this peacekeeping effect is likely to occur depends upon the way in which a religious activity is structured. For example, a festival which requires participation of all villages in an area as a condition of its performance is likely to have more peacekeeping effects (because it is more susceptible to disruption), than a festival which is merely grander (or jollier) when it has more participants than when it has few.

5 Religion not the only peacekeeping custom.

Religion is not the only body of custom that probably has peacekeeping effects, and religion can also inspire inter-group conflict. Accordingly the above propositions should be understood as tendencies implicit in religious customs, not as inevitable or unexceptional.

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2. The Specific Problem: Táiwān.

Following this logic, I shall explore the proposition that one unintended social effect of traditional local festivals in Táiwān may have been to reduce conflict and promote cooperation. This was not, however, their usual intended function (which was religious), and of three different types of religious festivals I shall discuss, only two arguably had significant peacekeeping results.

Terminology. The term bàibài 拜拜 (Hokkien: pàipài), as popularly used in Táiwān, has two quite different spheres of meaning: As a verb, it usually refers to worshiping, and everything pertaining to worshiping. As a noun, it normally serves as a generic term for a religious festival. A local religious festival, in other words, in addition to its religious significance, is often an opportunity to invite friends and relatives from outside the celebrating district to come and dine, and bàibài is therefore also used to refer to the broad-scale entertaining and feasting associated with a religious festival. It is possible to say, "Tomorrow we are going to eat bàibài." Traditionally at least three major social functions were served by such festivals, aside from their religious functions:

1. Reciprocal obligations were maintained with matrilateral and uxorilateral kin, who normally lived outside of the village or neighborhood. These ties could be called upon in times of economic or social necessity, (Gallin 1960) and their cultivation and maintenance was especially important in cases of village exogamy. (Footnote 3)

2. The social networks of individual guests were expanded as they met other guests whom they had not known before.

3. Because whole communities feasted at once, whole communities were in a position to gain and lose regional prestige, and were therefore (I maintain) motivated to cooperate in producing a good village or town bàibài, subordinating local disputes.

This third function --motivating broad community support to reduce conflict-- is what is of interest for present purposes. For several years I have been collecting material to try to see whether local festivals might indeed have had a significant "peacekeeping" function in traditional Taiwanese society, particularly during periods when regular government failed to provide sufficient peacekeeping resources. At first, it seemed to me that this was most likely in cases where a central temple was organizing festivals, and therefore clearly appointed temple "officials" had a direct responsibility for the organization of labor for a festival. However, the existence of large festival systems, particularly in northern Táiwān, which do not focus on large temples, convinced me that the key issue is not necessarily the temples and their administrators, but the distribution of responsibility to participate.

This paper deals with some aspects of my model for Táiwān, as it has been emerging from my case material over the past few years. My data are still very rudimentary, as is also my understanding of Táiwān local history. The present effort is therefore necessarily more in the nature of a progress report than of a finished statement solving the problem I have set myself.

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Types of Festival Organization.

There were several different ways in which local feasting could be organized, some of which still operate in some areas. (Footnote 4) I shall differentiate three general types of festival organizing, which I name after the temple activities usually associated with them: One is referred to as a "tour of inspection" (xúnshòu 巡狩). The "tour of inspection," moreover, has two variants: the central-temple model, and the rotating-sectors model. The other type of festival organizing is the "pilgrimage" (jìnxiāng 進香). (Footnote 5)

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Type I: The Tour of Inspection From a Central Temple

Background example: Xīgǎng Jiào rites. In the Xīgǎng 西港 area of Táinán county 臺南縣, a triennial Taoist jiào rite is held, centered on the Qìng'ān Gōng 慶安宮, a large temple dedicated to the goddess Māzǔ 媽祖. Local convention has it that the temple is visited by three plague kings (wēnwáng 瘟王) at each festival, and to entertain them appropriately, a temporary pavilion, the wángfǔ 王府, is erected in the main hall of the temple. The statue of Māzǔ is moved to one side, and the central altar of the wángfǔ is used to display temporary statues of the visiting divinities. (Footnote 6) In addition to their display in the temple, emblems of the visiting divinities (and of Māzǔ) are carried in procession through the system of participating villages, in what is called a "tour of inspection on behalf of Heaven" (dài Tiān xúnshòu 代天巡狩).

Processions. Each day for three days the procession proceeds from the temple, through a group of villages, and back to the temple. Thus there are three groups of villages, one for each of the procession days. On the day when the procession passes through a village, that village provides a feast, normally attended by large numbers of people from villages passed by the procession on the other days, but also attended by friends and relations of the host families. (Footnote 7)

A feast on the day that the procession passes through a village is an integral part of village participation in the jiào. Other parts include offering a palanquin of josses for the procession itself, with bearers and attendants, placing village josses in the Qìng'ān Gōng, providing financial support to the Qìng'ān Gōng, etc. In principle there are seventy-two participating villages (not quite corresponding with official administrative units), but it depends how one counts. In most years the effective number is smaller than that. (Footnote 8)

Opting out. There may be several reasons for a village declining to participate. Perhaps the most common one given is that the village cannot afford it because of recent financial strains caused by some massive public works project (repaving the roads, say, or building a new temple). Another reason commonly given is dissatisfaction with the administration of the procession (such as dissatisfaction with the order of march or with the parade route). Both of these reasons for non-participation are widely viewed as mere pretexts. The real reason, it is always muttered, is rivalry between villages, rivalry between political leaders of different villages, or dissatisfaction with festival arrangements that do not seem to pay proper deference to a village. Placing the village in a less favorable position in the order of march than a rival village is a good example. Villages with good relations between them do not object to any particular order of march. Those with poor relations can become quite sensitive to order-of-march considerations, since the processional order, established by the central temple, is construable as a political ranking of regional villages.

Thus we see that in Xīgǎng the system of inter-village feasting is intimately linked to a very flexible and constantly changing processional system, in which different villages participate in different years, and in which the general organization is under the control of a central temple. The jiào enjoys considerable prestige in the Táinán region, and people privileged to live within the processional circuit are usually proud of their participation.

Competition. There is another factor that must be considered when discussing Xīgǎng's jiào. Other regional celebrations in adjacent areas are in competition with it, both for the prestige of being a prominent south Táiwān religious center, and potentially for the participation of some of Xīgǎng's participating villages. The most noteworthy of these competing temples at the moment is the Shèngmǔ Miào 聖母廟, located in Tǔchéng 土城. (Footnote 9) Tǔchéng was formerly part of the Xīgǎng jiào circuit, but, taking offense when their venerable statue of Māzǔ was treated with less respect than a statue borrowed from the prestigious Māzǔ shrine of Běigǎng 北港, the people of Tǔchéng withdrew from the Xīgǎng festival, founded their own copy of it, (which is celebrated a couple of months earlier) and proceeded to recruit nearby villages into their own festival.

Observations. The details of this fascinating conflict need not concern us here, but the point is that Xīgǎng is always potentially at risk of "losing" villages into a competing festival system. It follows that it is in the interest of planners and elders of the Qìng'ān Gōng to try to mediate inter-village disputes that may lead to non-cooperation and withdrawal of any village. Not only is the prestige of the village potentially damaged by its inability or refusal to participate, but the prestige of the Xīgǎng festival system itself is also damaged somewhat by non-participation, and would be damaged even more by the loss of such a village into another system.

In the Xīgǎng local history one reads little of the ethnic conflict found in northern Táiwān. The principle axis of conflict in this area was surname groups, in particular an alliance of groups associated with the Hwang surname, in competition with people named Guō and their allies (Jordan 1972: 18-26). The Qìng'ān Gōng is officially neutral in this conflict. Neither Māzǔ nor the visiting plague kings are patron gods of the contending groups, and both Hwang villages and Guō villages participate in the jiào and apparently always have. Still Guō -Hwang surname loyalties represent the usual fracture line in local rivalry, as well as the basis of much political factionalization even today. Each triennial jiào represents, to some extent, the triumph of regional interests over inter-village squabbling, and the cooperation between Hwang and Guō villages, factions, and individuals in order to produce the jiào reveals a clear peacemaking function played by the Qìng'ān Gōng. If we try to isolate the features of this system that relate it to peacekeeping, clearly the key issue is that concern with prestige is a key issue. The possible loss of face for a village that does not participate motivates some peacemaking voices in individual villages, and the possibility of non-participation by one or more villages, thereby diminishing the glory of Xīgǎng as a whole, motivates peacemaking efforts by central temple officials, whose own prestige would potentially also be damaged if they could not succeed in maintaining the willing participation of most or all of the villages. (Footnote 10)

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Type II: The Tour of Inspection Through Rotating Sectors

Background Example: Sānzhānglí Hamlet. A somewhat different arrangement occurs in the procession of the god Bǎoyí Dàifū 保儀大夫, who is worshipped in the eastern districts of the Táiběi 臺北 basin. (Footnote 11) Bǎoyí Dàifū, like the Māzǔ of Xīgǎng, also makes a tour of inspection (xúnshòu) of his territory. Yet the organization of festivity is slightly different. Let me take as an example a festival system located in a place called Sānzhānglí 三張犁 in the southern half of Sōngshān 松山 District. This region is divided into six festival sectors (Hokkien: kak-thâu). Each year a statue of Bǎoyí Dàifū is borrowed from a shrine in another region and brought to Sānzhānglí, where it is carried in procession through the six sectors. The center of worship rotates through the sectors each year, with each sector in turn taking responsibility for providing a place for the worship and providing a feast for the other five sectors and for such other guests as people in the host sector wish to invite. Informants insist that it makes no difference where in the host sector the festival is centered, so long as there is enough space for sacrifices to be set out. However, each sector has a land god temple (tǔdìgōng miào 土地公廟), which is normally commandeered for the purpose. (Footnote 12)

Ethnicity. Bǎoyí Dàifū is the particular patron of people from Ānxī 安溪 county in Fújiàn 福建 province. The vast majority of the inhabitants of Sānzhānglí are (or consider themselves to be) descended from Ānxī immigrants to Táiwān. In general, particularly in northern Táiwān, early immigrants tended to block themselves into alliances on the basis of place of origin on the mainland. In the literature on Táiwān, these differences are usually described, for better or worse, as differences of "ethnicity." Historians differentiate three large "ethnic" blocs: Zhāngzhōu 漳州, Quánzhōu 泉州, and Hakka or Kèjiā 客家. (See appendix.) Ānxī people tended to affiliate with the Quánzhōu group.

The six sectors (largely of Ānxī people) in the Sānzhānglí festival system were not the only worshipers of Bǎoyí Dàifū. Other similar festival systems also can be found in this general region. Some indeed are quite large, so that the whole of the present Dà'ān 大安 district, for example, was effectively one sector in a quite large system covering much of the center of the city (although the area was of course rural when the system came into existence). In this case, each of the sectors was itself subdivided into sub-sectors, and one sub-sector of each sector would take responsibility on behalf of the whole sector when the turn of the sector came around. Since different sectors were divided into different numbers of sub-sectors, the actual frequency with which an individual family had a financial or hostly responsibility was different in different parts of the system, although the financial burden in those years was heavy. (Footnote 13)

A significant aspect of most of these systems is that the people participating in them were self-consciously members of the same place-of-origin groups, and the patron divinities selected were often patrons the immigrants' home districts in Fújiàn. Thus the festival of Sānzhānglí was as much a celebration of common origin from Ānxī as it was a festival of common residence in Sānzhānglí. This stress on "co-ethnicity" rather than "co-locality" in northern Táiwān is not surprising when we reflect on the history of inter-ethnic feuding there a century and a half ago. (Footnote 14)

Other examples. The fact that these festival systems were based on ethnic or kinship links that are also of potential local political significance is underlined by some of the variations that occur in the general picture. Here are two examples:

Bǎoyí Zūnwáng. The cult of Bǎoyí Zūnwáng 保儀尊王 (as opposed to Bǎoyí Dàifū) was brought to northern Táiwān, perhaps not for the first time, by three immigrant families named Gāo , Zhāng , and Lín . The alliance of the three families was not tight, however, and eventually they split the cult, assigning cult paraphernalia by lot to the three surname groups. The censer and the cult of Bǎoyí Zūnwáng's wife went to the Zhāng and Lín surnames; the statue went to the Gāo surname group. The Jǐngměi 景美 district saw a separate Gāo surname temple for Bǎoyí Dàifū by 1867 (presumably the predecessor of the present one, dating from 1894), and Lín surname temples, in Mùzhà 木栅 district in 1884 LÍN Héngdào 1974: 78) and in Jǐngměi in 1921 (LÍN Héngdào 1974: 67), presumably the predecessors of the Lín-dominated temples to Bǎoyí Zūnwáng now in Pínglín 坪林 township of Táiběi county. (Footnote 15) What is of interest for present purposes is that the division of the cult also brought the establishment of completely separate festival systems, with every evidence being that the change was very methodically worked out.

Nèihú district. The general idea of rotating responsibility among sectors, with its implication of locking the sectors into the general commonweal, is not limited to festivity, but is a broader organizing principle in Táiwān society. In the Nèihú 內湖 district, north of the center of the city, two different systems dominate the Nèihú basin, including slightly different territory. One is a five-sector system associated with Kāizhāng Shèngwáng 開彰聖王, patron of the Zhāngzhōu group, and patron of the region's most prominent temple. (Footnote 16)

It includes only Zhāngzhōu people, and is used as a device to ensure the rotation of the office of lúzhǔ 爐主 or "censer master" among all geographical parts of the basin, while limiting it to Zhāngzhōu immigrants (which, in this district, traditionally meant excluding a small group of Tóng'ān 同安 immigrants and some Hakkas who had settled here). The same temple is at the center of a (recently organized) rotating feast system composed of six sectors and associated with the goddess Māzǔ, whose statue occupies a subordinate place in the same temple with Kāizhāng Shèngwáng; this system is slightly narrower in geographical spread than that for Kāizhāng Shèngwáng, but aims to be ethnically "blind." The sectors of the two systems do not correspond with each other, and presumably each system produces solidarities of a slightly different character from the other. (Both exclude the Tóng'ān immigrants of the region, who participate in a separate, much older Māzǔ festival centered on a Māzǔ temple patronized principally by Tóng'ān people living in two neighborhoods within the district. Even Māzǔ is not entirely above ethnic associations, even though the Kāizhāng Shèngwáng temple uses her that way.)

Thus we see that the same temple can be the center for more than one system of sectors, depending upon the cult, and that, as in the case of Bǎoyí Zūnwáng, cults may interpenetrate spatially but be distinguishable on the basis of the ethnic or kinship (surname) identification of the majority of the participants. (Footnote 17)

Some observations: We saw that in the central-temple model, there is no significant inter-village cooperation uniting the villages who constitute one day's procession as opposed to another's, and the villages themselves have no responsibility for the organization of the festival, so that the defection of a village or group of villages, while regrettable, does not seriously disrupt the festivity. Instead, the participation of individual villages or districts in the festival is a matter of concern for administrators of the temple, who are motivated to seek to mediate local disputes in the interest of maximizing participation in the festival region. Additional pressure is added by the possibility that dissatisfied villages may withdraw from the festival permanently and affiliate with a competing temple system.

The rotating-sector model does not depend upon a strong central temple --indeed a central temple is often missing. On the other hand, and compensating for this, the allocation of all responsibility to each sector in turn means that the withdrawal of a participating unit in the rotating-sector model potentially disrupts the entire festival. Each sector must perform as a close-knit unit, and the defection of such a unit (or its malfunction due to disruptions within it) would mean the destruction of the ritual until a new order of rotation could be established. I have so far been unable to discover any instances of such disruption. It appears that the sanction of public expectation effectively renders defection impossible. (Footnote 18)

On the other hand, the passivity of each sector in the years when it does not have direct responsibility means that in many respects the rotating-sector festivals are less coordinated and require less cooperation in their performance. Beyond a certain willingness to produce as effective a festival this year as last, this year's sponsor need bother little about the preferences of people in other segments, and the "defection" of one or more communities in a non-sponsoring segment could effectively go unnoticed, whatever might motivate it, since it would probably be marked by little more than a lower rate of participation on the part of people in the "defecting" sector.

The rotating-sector model does not provide obvious outside mediators of local conflict; and it requires less between-sector cooperation, and hence logically less dampening of between-sector conflict; but on the other hand it may put even stronger pressure on the contending parties to suppress within-sector conflict themselves, since disruption of the system would focus unbearable criticism on them from participants in all of the other sectors. What is lacking in leadership from a central temple is made up for in the greater severity of the sanctions on the sponsoring sector, but peacekeeping between and among non-sponsoring sections is almost certainly less effective, at least on a day-to-day basis.

Broadly speaking, the social functions of these rotating-sector festivals were not dissimilar to those of the festivity associated with the central-temple type of organization, instanced by the Xīgǎng triennial jiào: Uxorilateral and matrilateral kinship links were strengthened; social contacts were made across wide geographical areas; and local areas gained prestige. In this case, however, the strong ethnic associations of the patron gods made such festivals into celebrations of ethnic identity, tending to strengthen (or if unsuccessful to weaken) the coherence of self-conscious ethnic groupings, while emphasizing the lines between ethnic groups. (This would be so even when individuals of other ethnic groups were invited guests, since the patron gods themselves were associated with ethnic groups, and since the villages or districts taking responsibility for the banquets and processions were acting as ethnically self-conscious groupings.) It is legitimate to ask whether the association between section rotation and ethnicity is an inevitable (or even particularly common) one. My impression is that ethnographically there is indeed a high empirical correlation between ethnic festivals and rotating sectors, but my survey data are still too few to be certain what exactly the correlation is. (Footnote 19) Logically, it seems to me that the principal point of contrast between the two models is not ethnicity as a basis for organization however. More likely the contrast is one between northern and southern Táiwān, which happens also to correspond with differences in the salience of ethnic difference.

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Type III: The Pilgrimage

Definitions. The Chinese word jìnxiāng can be translated "pilgrimage." It refers, however, to several only loosely related things. Three of these interest us here:

(1) Offering incense in a temple is referred to as jìnxiāng, especially if one travels a long distance to reach the temple, and especially on a festival day. Pilgrimages may be made to important religious festivals, such as the jiào at Xīgǎng (when a god whose image is carried from another place to the Qìng'ān Gōng is said to be making a pilgrimage) or such as the annual tour of inspection of Bǎoyí Dàifū in Sānzhānglí. Such pilgrimages are rather rare, however. More often, a pilgrimage is undertaken to a well-known shrine (Footnote 20) on occasion of the anniversary of a temple founding or on occasion of a god's birthday, and this is done without regard to any tours of inspection or local festivities at the visited temple itself. The most famous pilgrimage center is no doubt the Cháo Tiān Gōng 朝天宮, the shrine of Māzǔ at Běigǎng 北港, in Yúnlín 雲林 county; Indeed, the pilgrimage from Dàjiǎ 大甲, in Táizhōng 臺中 county, to Běigǎng each year has become the popular model of the classic pilgrimage. (See DÙ Róngzhé 1984.) But a number of other shrines also attract large numbers of pilgrims.(Footnote 21)

(2) Carrying an image and incense pot from a temple to the temple from which it is founded to acknowledge and renew its links with the parent temple is also referred to as jìnxiāng. Traditionally this reinforced lasting links between communities with historically linked temples. This was of potential social importance if, as often happened, the visit was between an emigrant community and its home community. It was less significant in the case where noted shrines had thousands of daughter temples, or where daughter temples were founded by private individuals, so that there was no particularly logical or historical link tying the communities together except for their common cult.

(3) Carrying an image and other paraphernalia from its home temple to a temple which is unrelated to it is also referred to as jìnxiāng. In recent years, Táiwān has seen a rapid growth in the number of such expeditions, often carrying land gods (tǔdìgōng 土地公) (!) and other local divinities on pilgrimage tours to well-known shrines in distant parts of the province. (Many of the Táiběi land god temples sponsor such tours annually, selecting different shrines in different years. Many of the pilgrims are women, for many of whom the pilgrimage is at least partly a pretext for a merry romp to visit parts of Táiwān they have not visited before, while escaping from heavy burdens at home. Because different shrines are visited each year, I shall call these "shifting pilgrimages." It is clear that the ability to attract such pilgrimage groups, and thus to be widely acknowledged as a major shrine, is a mark of prestige for a temple. Therefore many new and newly rebuilt temples provide pilgrimage guest houses to facilitate such traffic; sometimes the guest houses are larger than the temples themselves.

Shifting pilgrimages: Large shrines. With a few exceptions, shifting pilgrimages matter to the receiving shrine because of the number of pilgrims and the distances they come, more often than because of long association with the sending temples. Many a shrine sports a wall filled with flags left by visiting groups of pilgrims, and particular pride is taken in flags from distant spots. Accordingly, the particular visits today rarely have significant effects on social relations between temples or their communities.

Shifting pilgrimages: Small temples. The more important effect is generally upon the social relations of the sending community alone. In this regard, we can see shifting pilgrimages as a response to changing conditions: A combination of government pressure and changes attendant upon industrialization has weakened most of the festivals that centered on feasts and feast exchange, so that many have been discontinued, or exist today but attract very little participation. (This is particularly true in areas of Táiběi city that were formerly villages but now contain block after block of apartment buildings.) Further, the solidarities that such feasting fostered have tended to decline in importance as Táiwān society has evolved into one in which individuals' personal social networks are island-wide, or often even international. In such a context, annual pilgrimages, with participation open to anyone in a given religious district, represent a new kind of community activity, providing pious fellowship centering on a temple that comes to redefine itself as a congregation of pious people rather than a parish of co-resident neighbors. However in this case there is no-one --village, family, or individual-- whose participation is religiously or traditionally necessary. Although pilgrimage is clearly a kind of festival, it motivates no obvious reason for mediation and peacekeeping of the same kind that we easily saw in the tour-of-inspection activities. The receiving shrine is pleased at all the attention it can get, but a visit from one sending shrine is, in most cases and for most purposes, as good as a visit from another. The sending temple is proud to present a popular and meritorious activity each year, but the trip is patronized by only a small proportion of the target population, and little or no importance is attached to exactly who does and who does not go. Festivity (bàibài) it is; peacekeeping it is not.

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3. Conclusions.

The Táiwān case illustrates the force of the general perspective than an unintended consequence of religious festivals can indeed aid in peacekeeping, not just during the festival period, but between festivals as well.

But examination of the Táiwān data suggests that festivals organized in different ways seem to keep the peace in different ways. The rotation of total festival responsibility through a fixed sequence of sectors of the celebrating region seems to operate to require the cooperation of the sector charged with that responsibility in a given year, but offers little constraint on the behavior of the other sectors in their years of non-responsibility. (It also seems highly correlated in my data so far with temples involved in ethnically affiliated divinities.)

In the case of festivals centering on a coordinating central temple, on the other hand, the managers of the temple seem to be motivated to seek to limit inter-participant conflict. Although the ultimate pressure on a given locale to sustain cooperation may be slightly less, the constancy of it is greater.

Pilgrimages, at least in their most common modern form, would seem on the other hand to have less local peacekeeping potential, although they may make an important contribution to peaceful relations across broader regions.

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Appendix: Patron Gods of Emigrant Groups

This table lists towns in Fújiàn 福建 province whose emigrants in Táiwān tended to affiliate with each other, and the patron gods they typically selected.

Zhāngzhōu 漳州, or (Lóngxī 龍溪), immigrants under the patronage of a god named Kāizhāng Shèngwáng 開彰聖王, includes groups from towns located in the basin of the Jiǔlóngjiāng 九龍江 river and its tributaries, as follows (reading upstream):

Place Patron Divinity
Jīnmén 金門 county Kāizhāng Shèngwáng 開彰聖王
Xiàmén 廈門 city
Shímǎ 石碼鎮zhèn
 (Lónghǎixiàn 龍海縣)
Lóngxī 龍溪 county
 (Zhāngzhōu 漳州 prefecture)
Huà'ān 華盦 county
Zhāngpíng 漳平 county

Quánzhōu 泉州 or (Jìnjiāng 晉江) immigrants include immigrants from towns located in the basin of the Jìnjiāng 晉江 river and its tributaries, as follows:

Place Patron Divinity
1. "Sānyì" 三義 alliance,
 consisting of:
Guǎngzé Zūnwáng 廣澤尊王
 & Bǎoyí Dàifū 保儀大夫
   A. Jìnjiāng 晉江 county
   (Quánzhōu 泉州 prefecture)
   B. Nán'ān 南安 county Guǎngzé Zūnwáng 廣澤尊王
   C. Huì'ān 惠安 county Líng'ān Zūnwáng 靈安尊王
 (= Qīngshān Wáng 青山王)
2. "Xiàjiāo" (??) alliance,
 consisting of:
   A. Ānxī 安息 county Qīngshuǐ Zǔshī 清水祖師
 & Bǎoyí Dàifū 保儀大夫
   B. Tóng'ān 同安 county Bǎoyí Dàifū 保儀大夫
 & Xiáhǎi Chénghuáng 霞海城隍
3. Yǒngchūn 永春 county  
4. Déhuà 德化 county  

The Hakkas were generally devotees of Sānshān Guówáng 三山國王. A scattering of other groups, apparently either composed of Hakkas or allied with Hakkas most of the time, came from Huìzhōu 惠州 prefecture, Cháozhōu 潮州 prefecture, Jiāyìng xxx district, and Dǐngjiāo xxx, and tended to be devotees of Guānyīn Púsà 觀音菩薩 when they sought a patron divinity over their alliances.

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