The 13th day of the 5th Lunar Month: The Day of Worship to Lord Guan

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The 13th day of the 5th lunar month is the day of the descent of Lord Guan and the day of the sharpening of Lord Guan's blade. Lord Guan, also known as Guan Di and Guan Sheng Di Jun, is the Three Kingdoms General, Guan Yu. His title is “Guan the Holy Great Emperor; God of War Manifesting Benevolence, Bravery and Prestige; Protector of the Country and Defender of the People; Proud and Honest Supporter of Peace and Reconciliation; Promoter of Morality, Loyalty and Righteousness”.

Guan Yu was a paragon of virtue, exemplifying loyalty, righteousness, bravery, and chastity. He is a symbol of loyalty, faith, righteousness, benevolence, wisdom, courage, and other commendable qualities.

From the renowned general of the Shu Han Empire, who was "the most righteous and courageous of the three kingdoms at that time", to the loyal and courageous deities, who have been venerated at shrines throughout the Jiuzhou region. Lord Guan is venerated as the "God of Wealth," and the practice of worshipping Lord Guan can be observed in a multitude of cultural contexts. Additionally, Lord Guan is venerated as the "Saint of War," a deity who can be petitioned for favorable weather conditions and peace in the countries. Businessmen engage in the practice of worshipping Lord Guan as the "God of Wealth," which involves praying for wealth and protection for businessmen.

Why does Lord Guan have two birthdays?

According to popular belief, the 13th day of the 5th lunar month is the birthday of Lord Guan. On that day, many temples will prepare for the birthday consecration ceremony. However, in fact, many temples celebrate on the 24th day of the 6th lunar month. This raises the question of why there are two birthdays for Lord Guan.

A review of the available historical and bibliographical sources reveals no evidence that can be considered sufficient to prove the date of Guan Yu's birth. In essence, these accounts are all based on Chen Shou's "the Records of Three Kingdoms" and the well-known "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", a literary novel. There is no record of a definitive date of Guan Yu's birth in "the Records of Three Kingdom".

The origin of the 13th day of the 5th lunar month can be traced to the following historical documents:

The Ming History-Rituals: Lord Guan Temple was constructed in the 27th year of the Hongwu era on the Jilong Mountain and Guan Yu was originally named Shouting Hou of the Han Dynasty. During the 10th year of Jiajing’s reign, an error was identified, and the name was subsequently changed to Hanshou Tinghou. Every beginning of the seasons and end of the year is marked as an official date to worship Lord Guan.

The Draft History of Qing-Rituals: Guan Di Temple, built in the early Qing Dynasty in Shengjing (now Shenyang), was called "Wucheng Palace", and the temple entrance was given the name of "Righteousness High forever". After the Shunzhi Emperor rebuilt the temple outside Beiping Di'anmen, he set the 13th of the 5th month every year as Lord Guan's Memorial Day.

The origin of the 24th day of the 6th lunar month can be traced back to the historical documents:

1. The "Guan Yu Annals," compiled by Huqi from the Yuan Dynasty, which records Guan Yu's birth date as the 24th day of the 6th month.

2. The "Former General Guan Zhuang Mu Hou Zu Tomb Inscription," written by Wang Zhudan, which also mentions this date. The Qing Dynasty’s Wang Zhu Dan is said to have repaired the ancient well and excavated Guan Yu's tomb, which was inscribed with the names of Guan Yu's two generations of ancestors and father, as well as the dates of his birth and death. It also included information about Guan Yu’s background. Wang Zhudan is also credited with writing the “Tomb Inscription of the Former General Guan Zhuang Mu Hou Zu". This source states that Guan Yu was born on the 24th of the 6th month. However, the original source of the document has not been preserved.

3. A record of the 24th of the 6th month can be found in the literati notes "Categorized anthology of petty matters from the Qing period": (June) 24th, Guan Di Temple Worship Celebration.

Kuala Lumpur's Centennial Temple - Guan Di Temple Chinatown

The temple houses a variety of deities, including Lord Guan, the Goddess of the Golden Flower, He Xian Gu, the God of Wealth, the Lord of the Year and the Age, Fuhu Xuantan, Lord Zhao, Lord Wenchang, Tudigong, the God of Yin and Yang, the Dragon King of the Five Directions, and so on. From the eve of the New Year to the 15th day of the lunar calendar, the temple is open to the public for worship and prayer.

Every year, on the 13th day of the 5th lunar month, the temple celebrates Guan Ping's birthday with a ceremony of the Eight Sounds. On the 24th day of the 6th lunar month, Lord Guan's birthday is celebrated with a ceremony of the Rituals of the Dipper, in which the stars of the North and South Dippers bless the devotees with blessings of good fortune and longevity.

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