On the 9th January 2016, on a date selected for its auspiciousness according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, we held a traditional celebration for the first opening of our newly built temple, Tai Shan Miao, that is located around 350m away from the Five Immortals Temple, Wu Xian Miao, on the way down, and that can be reached in 15mn. This celebration, called 搬家（ban jia) in Chinese, or ‘moving in’, is traditionally held whenever someone moves into a new house or building.
The preparations kept us busy for many days, dealing with finishing painting, setting up furniture, hauling up the mountain all the necessary ingredients, and starting to prepare the food. Many villagers came to help, and it felt as a big family reunion.
On the day of the celebration, a fire was started in Wu Xian Miao, the Five Immortals Temple, be-fore dawn, and right after the first rays of sun came out, Li Shifu brought the coals of this fire down the mountain to Tai Shan Miao. He offered incense and burnt prayer paper while chanting invocations in front of the main door, and firecrackers were lit as he stepped in the temple, to go offer the coals and bow to our first Spirit Statue, still covered. He then uncovered it, and adorned it with red cloths, revealing 泰山爷 Tai Shan Ye, or 阎王 Yan Wang, overseer of the underworld, controller of Yang lives and Yin spirits, who can extend or shorten lifespans, for example granting virtuous per-sons with more years to live.
Then guests started to come, at the sound of lively orchestras. Two lions came to pay respect to Tai Shan Ye, followed by a very colorful boat with a group of ladies dancing. From then on, traditional performances followed each other all morning in the courtyard of the new temple, from fan dances to songs, or live music by local musicians. The atmosphere was very warm.
By noontime, everyone was served with many different delicious vegetarian dishes, and it all be-came a great feast. The kitchen was bustling with multitude of plates of food, and everyone ate a lot. More songs, dances, and performances colored the afternoon, until guests started to leave one by one. By the evening, small groups of friends and villagers would still be hanging out by the fires, burning outside or in the courtyard.
In one day, Tai Shan Miao received a great number of guests. The celebration was a success, and we wish to thank one more time all our students and donators who supported the building of this new temple. Happy new year 2016 !