“The God of Water confers blessings, and favorable weather arrives”. On the morning of March 31, thousands of people flocked to the Renwei Temple to pray for blessings, enjoy lion dances, and celebrate the birthday of the Northern Emperor. On the same day, the Waterfront Rite for Praying for Blessings on the Northern Emperor’s Birthday officially kicked off, and the five-day fourth Old Guangzhou Folk Art Festival, also known as “Litchi Bay on the Third Day of the Third Lunar Month”, opened to the public as well.
“Awakening lions add to the festivities, and the Northern Emperor brings blessings.” At 9 a.m. on March 31, colorful banners were fluttering and large crowds gathered in the square in front of the Renwei Temple. Eight awakening lions performed “green collecting” ceremony, ushering in the waterfront blessing praying rite. At 10 a.m. sharp, a Taoist priest holding a statue of the Northern Emperor, arrived in a floral boat on the Xiacui Lake, accompanied by four flower fairies. On the shore, the statue was ushered by the Taoist priests from the Renwei Ancestral Temple and Huayang Monastery to the Altar of Heaven, where a “light opening” ceremony was performed for the statue and prayers were made for favorable weather, domestic peace and a prosperous nation. The rite last an hour, attracting more than ten thousands visitors who burned incenses and made their wishes.
On the same day, a number of popular folklore performances were staged at Renwei Temple, including candy drawing performance, cock olives, throwing pots, guessing lantern riddles, and traditional crafts, as well as a metaphysics lecture on fortunes.