「神」州大陸

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1995 / 4月

文‧蔡文婷



汽車從福州機場往湄洲島方向開去,進入莆田市的鎮前村,路的兩旁全是一竿竿的金紙和一捆捆散開如花的香。到了黃石村,一戶戶門前堆滿花崗岩雕刻的媽祖、關公、觀音神像,或坐或站地等待買主。在東沙村裡,村民趕著小型的馬隊往城裡跑去,這個村子從前就以製作神明出巡時載放神明牌位用的神馬著名。

壓抑不得的

在湄洲島所屬的莆田市(相當於台灣的縣),除了公立的莆仙戲班,還有將近百來個專演酬神戲的草台班。這些新興的「文化個體戶」競爭激烈,演員一年只能休個兩天假。歷經「文化大革命」,演過樣板戲的資深演員笑著說「以前是不改行不行,現在是改行都來不及了。」

顯然大多數聲勢浩大、來去匆匆的台灣進香團口中所謂「大陸根本沒有人在拜拜,大陸的廟都是靠台灣的香油錢興建起來的」,是種過度膨脹的錯誤看法。多次深入大陸作田野調查的中央研究院研究員李豐楙持平地表示,台灣的香客在廟容修建的奉獻上的確有相當的功勞,然而大陸這四十多年來的宗教活動也「一直存在」。即使文革期間,神像毀了,廟也沒了,人們一樣在神明生日時,以石為桌、以泥造爐地偷拜。

它的熱潮並非來自台灣香客一朝一夕地炒作,「更何況我們知道,宗教這東西,是越壓抑就越要求出路,一旦開放了,就更大更亮」,李豐楙指出。

元宵節前後半個月裡,一個村子接著一個村子,轎班、旗班、西樂隊或最時髦的摩托車隊等,熱熱鬧鬧地迎著村廟的神明出巡。這些大陸稱為文藝表演的陣頭全是自發性組成的,單是在莆田市涵江區的車鼓隊就高達六十多隊呢。

經濟抬神轎

「要是沒有經濟撐腰,宗教這個東西也不會這麼熱烈」,著有《福建民間信仰》一書的福建師範大學副教授林國平補充說明。的確,在東沙村晚上辦桌的宴席上,一個個遞出名片的大多是某某紡織、某某建築公司的老闆。在泉州天后宮也有大陸的年輕企業家發了財,一連謝上九天戲的風光場面。

不只做生意的有機會,沿海捕撈養殖業的收入也不少。在泉州市郊蟳埔地方的順濟宮牆上,還貼著去年媽祖誕辰時,村民捐款及前去湄洲進香的支出明細。這個靠捕魚和賣蟳的小地方,總共出動了一百多艘漁船,花費近六萬五千人民幣在進香活動中。捐款名單上不乏四、五千人民幣的大戶,而大陸人民的年平均所得才約三千六百人民幣。

沿海有工廠,有漁獲。內陸山區的年輕人,不怕離別,就怕沒有機會。他們離鄉到外地去討生活、碰運氣,少不了也要帶只家鄉的護身符出去。

看這無處不土木大興的神州大陸,街上比鄰的個體商店想求發財,路上橫衝直撞的「的士」要保平安。年輕人要考學校、出社會得碰三分運氣;一胎化的嚴格規定下,想一舉得男,那更得往註生娘娘跟前多燒幾支香……。儘管在「四化」(工業、農業、科技、國防的現代化)的腳步下,新式的洋房、家電成為生活必需。然而從社區的娛神、普渡,到個人的祈福、消災,所謂「四舊」(舊風俗、舊習慣、舊文化、舊思想)的傳統信仰習俗方興未艾。

〔圖片說明〕

P.84

彩旗飄揚、神明成隊。節日前後在大陸的城市或鄉村,經常可以遇到這樣熱鬧的迎神場面。

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EN

Mainland China's Religious Revolution

Ventine Tsai /tr. by Brent Heinrich


The car drives from the Fuzhou Airport headed for Meizhou Island. Upon entering Putian City's Zhenqian Village, nothing can be seen on either side of the road except endless bundles of spirit money and innumerable piles of joss sticks spread over the ground. When we reach the town of Huangshi, we see stone carvings amassed in front of the doors of every building, statues of the gods Matsu, Guangong, and Guanyin, sitting or standing in wait for a buyer. In Dongsha Village a group of locals is hurrying into the city, each pulling a horse by the reins. From early on this village has been famous for its "holy horses" which are used to carry placards or statues of the gods when they come out on inspection tours.

Irrepressible

In Meizhou Island's Putian City (equivalent in size to a county in Taiwan), besides the official Puxian drama troupe, there are as many as 100 private "straw stage troupes" that specialize in performing religious dramas. These newly risen "cultural private enterprises" are enmeshed in fierce competition; actors are only allowed two days of holiday a year. A senior actor who performed orthodox communist Model Operas during the Cultural Revolution laughingly relates, "In the past no one dared to be an actor; now everyone wants to be one."

The Taiwanese religious pilgrimage groups which frantically bustle around the mainland often comment that "no one on the mainland really worships anymore; the temples are only maintained by virtue of Taiwan's contributions." But from this obviously grand display, such statements are a kind of exaggerated misperception. Academia Sinica researcher Lee Fong-mao, who has made many deep forays into mainland China for field surveys, states impartially that Taiwan's religious pilgrims certainly deserve considerable credit for their contributions in restoring temples; nevertheless, for the past 40 years in mainland China, religious activities "have always been in existence." Even in the Cultural Revolution era, when sacred statues were being smashed and no one could go to the temples, on the birthdays of the gods, the people would worship as usual, using rocks as their alters and mud as their incense vessels.

The dramatic rise in popularity of native religion was in fact not fanned into flames overnight by Taiwanese pilgrims. "And that's not all; we know that the more you repress religion, the more the demand for it increases. Once people are given freedom, it flares up big and bright," observes Lee Fong-mao.

During the fortnight around the time of the Lantern Festival, from one village to the next, palanquin troupes, banner troupes, marching bands, or the presently fashionable motorcycle brigades make a clamorous uproar to welcome the gods of the village temple as they make their inspection tours. These organizations, which in mainland China are called "cultural performance brigades," have all sprung up of their own accord. There are more than 60 gong and drum corps in the Hanjiang district of Putian City alone.

Economics shoulders the gods

"If it weren't for the booming economy, religion would not be as widely popular as it is," explains Lin Guoping, associate professor at Fujian Normal University and author of the book The Faiths of the People of Fujian. To be sure, at the evening banquet in a private home in Dongsha Village, most of the folks proffering business cards to all in sight are the proprietors of Such-and-Such Textile Co. or So-and-So Construction, Inc. And at the Heavenly Empress Temple in Quanzhou, a young mainland entrepreneur who had struck it rich, to offer thanks commissioned an opera pageant that lasted nine days.

But business people are not the only ones who have new opportunities; the income from fishing and aquaculture along the coast is not to be ignored, either. On the outskirts of Quanzhou City, in a little town called Xunpu, on the wall of the Temple of Calm Seas is posted a ledger of all the contributors to last year's Matsu festival and all those who joined the pilgrimage to Meizhou. This little place which survives on fishing and selling crabs sent out more than 100 fishing boats for the festival at a total cost of nearly RMB 65,000. On the contributor's ledger it was not hard to find generous philanthropists who gave RMB 4000 or 5000. (The average annual income of a mainland Chinese citizen is approximately RMB 3600.)

The coasts have no shortage of factories and fisheries. Youth from the mountain regions of the hinterland are not afraid to leave home; what they fear is having no opportunity. When leaving their places of birth and venturing forth to make a living and test their luck, more than a few of them carry protective talismans (fu) from their hometowns.

In today's China, where every place is crowded with construction and the streets are clogged with an endless array of private shops seeking their fortune, the taxi driver caught in the jostling, crowded road hopes to ensure his own protection. Young people want to test into school, to have some decent luck when they go out into the world. Given the strict regulations of the one-child policy, anyone who wishes to ensure the birth of a boy may very well go before the Birth Goddess and burn a few more joss sticks than usual. . . . Through the progress of the "four modernizations" (of industry, agriculture, technology and defense), new Western-style houses and home appliances have become necessities of life. Nevertheless, religion continues to provide joy and salvation to society and to answer the individual's prayers for blessing and protection. Part and parcel of the so-called "four olds" (old styles, old habits, old culture, and old thinking), traditional Chinese religious customs are still on the ascent.

[Picture Caption]

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Embroidered banners flutter in the wind as the deities form their procession. Around the time of festivals, in mainland China's cities and country villages alike, one can often encounter such boisterous pageantry welcoming the gods.

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