Worshiping a nominally adoptive father
Date:[2006-12-5 15:37:41]
At the east side of Zhongyue Gate stand four iron men which were cast in 1064 (Song Dynasty). They are the four largest and best maintained existing “Iron Guards” which people call “Iron Protectors of the Temple”. Legend has it that when the army of Jin invaded Song, the iron men were ready to cross the Yellow River to fight against Jin, but unfortunately, their great ambition wasn’t fulfilled. Then, out of admiration and respect, the local civilians worshipped them as their patron saint, and when children were one year old, they would visit the Zhongyue Temple to hold a ceremony of hanging lock on the arms of the iron men. First, they hang a copper lock or a silver lock on the arm of one of the four iron men, and then ask the children to kneel down and burn the incense. At last they would take the locks off the iron men and hang them around the children’s necks, which means the locks, as gifts given by the iron men, would bless the children and guarantee their health and safety. Some people call such a custom “hanging locks”, or “worshiping a nominally adoptive father”.

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