Monday, June 18, 2012
Wang Yeh Boat Burning Festival
Over time, with the improvement of sanitary conditions, the progress of medication and the development of civilization, plagues were no longer rampant in the area and the spirits of plagues were transformed into deities of plague, also known as Wang Yeh, who inspect the good and evil of people and punished the bad by spreading pestilence. These inspections are known as 'inspections on behalf of heaven' (代天巡狩 daitian xunshou) and the meaning of building a boat was changed from expelling plague and death to sending the deities back to heaven from their inspections on behalf of heaven, hopefully taking disease and calamity with them. The practice was evolved from "sending the boat to an open sea and drift it away" to "set fire to the boat and rise with ashes to heaven".