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Deities Worshipped
by Farmers

Ox King

Ox King

The Ox King protected oxen and guarded them against diseases. In ancient China, the rural people offered sacrifices to the Ox King on the first day of the tenth lunar month. They used to celebrate the king's birthday on the twenty-fifth of the seventh lunar month, however, as the month was a busy season in farming. They later changed the date to the first of the tenth lunar month. This practice was followed until the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It was said that the Duke Wen (765-716 B.C.) of the Qin State once cut down a number of Chinese catalpa, which instantly changed to round them up. The duke sent his cavalrymen to round them up . The oxen ran into the river and disappeared. The shocked duke built a temple for the lost oxen, which was popularly known as the Ox King Temple in later generations.

The Horse King

The Horse King

The custom of offering sacrifices to the Horse King can be traced back to the Zhou Dynasty (11th century-256 B.C.). Local horse owners as well as cart drivers gathered on the twenty-third day of the sixth lunar month to celebrate the king's birthday. In old Beijing, people offered mutton instead of pork because the king was allegedly a muslim. The god was portrayed with four arms and three eyes; he was armored and awe-inspiring. Local military officers in ancient China also joined in the celebration.

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