Coming home - Part 5 哪吒
From the outside, the most prominent feature of the Jelutong Koxinga Temple is the five martial flags planted on the roof. This is a tradition held over from since the temple was built and yet no one knows what they meant.
These 5 triangular banners each has a surname in the center:
This is in fact the 五營信仰 (the 5-batallion belief), still common in southern Taiwan. Even though it is not known when the belief first started, in view of the central role of NaZa, it appears to have been part of the NaZa worship by the Koxinga soldiers.
NaZa哪吒 is a Taoist god worshipped primarily in Taiwan as 三太子 [the Third Prince]. The statue of NaZa is seen in almost all Koxinga temples in Taiwan. This practice can be traced back to the Ming-Cheng soldiers. Where they had settled, working in the field tilling the land, small 三太子 temples were also built.
NaZa was a mischievous youth and one of his deeds eventually got him into big trouble with the East Sea Dragon King for accidentally killing the latter’s son. In order not to cause problems for his parents, he carved up himself and returned the muscles to his mother and bones to his father, thereby paying the debt of birth in full. He was subsequently given a second lease on life by Buddha. NaZa was mentioned in many ancient popular Chinese texts, often described as having unusual power in defeating evil forces. And because he rode on wheels of wind and fire, NaZa has been revered as a guardian angel for those in transportation businesses.
There was no historical account on why the Ming-Cheng soldiers had chosen NaZa as their guardian deity, perhaps as a sorrowful reminder that Koxinga, just like NaZa, was not only estranged from his father but also was no longer cared for by his parents. In any case, it is historically accurate to see NaZa in the Koxinga Temple in Jelutong.
Posted by EyeDoc at 下午10:32