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To Explore the Centuries-old Sacrificial 0fferings Ceremony in Qinghai Lake


Making sacrificial offerings toQinghaiLakeis a folk customs activity of rich religious features. It is also a cultural phenomenon, comprising multiple folk customs while expressing people’s good wishes to exist harmoniously with nature.


In 2008, making sacrificial offerings toQinghaiLakewas listed into the second batch of the state-level intangible cultural heritage directory.

Making sacrificial offerings toQinghaiLakewas a tradition of the Mongolian ethnic group in the very beginning. The Mongolians, believing in Shamanism, accepted the doctrine of animism. They were convinced in particular that Heaven was the supreme god. In the Yuan Dynasty, the Mongolians cultivated the customs of extending sacrificial offerings to the Heaven, mountains and lakes. Since the Qing Dynasty, they expanded the scales of making sacrificial offerings toQinghaiLake, with more religious appearances. Meanwhile, Tibetans living round theQinghaiiLakealso joined in the ceremony.

Large-scale sacrificial offerings to theQinghaiiLakecould be dated back to the reign of Emperor Yongzheng in the Qing Dynasty. In the second year under the reign of Emperor Yongzheng, Great General Nian Gengyao led troops to put down the rebellion of Danjin, a chieftain of the Mongolians in Qinghaii. When the troops chased the rebels to the bank of theQinghaiLake, they ran short of drinking water. At that moment, a group of horsemen galloped along the road. Some horse hooves happened to tread on the mouth of spring, which gushed out fresh water to solve the drinking water problem. The warriors, with martial spirits roused greatly, put on a spurt and wiped out the rebels. Hearing the news, Emperor Yongzheng made a decree extending the water god of theQinghaiiLakethe title ofLing Xian Xuan Wei, and a memorial tablet in theQinghaiiLakeGodTemple. The emperor decided to hold a ceremony giving sacrificial offerings to the God in August each year (July15 inthe traditional Chinese calendar). Since then, there has emerged large-scale ceremony making sacrificial offerings to theQinghaiiLake.
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