A “Mah Song” swinging a flag. The main protagonists of the vegetarian festival are the Mah Song. Chosen by the Chinese emperor gods they appear as the media on the occasion of these special days. In honor of the event, the visit of these 9 divinities is embodied by them.
At the beginning of the ceremonies, they move themselves under magic drum music with the smoke of burning herbs and intoxicating substances into trance. In this state of strange convulsions, they reveal themselves to visitors dressed all in white. With brutal-looking body piercings as self-mortification, they represent both their inviolability and their willingness to make sacrifices. As the chosen ones, they are shown their utmost respect and being close to them means healing and salvation.
Flag waving the Mah Song dance in the temple and offer their readiness to transmit messages from the divine world to the participants. This is done by touching the body with the flag, while those willing to receive remain devoutly on their knees at this ceremony.
But not only in the temple, but also on the streets you can see the Mah Song as part of gloriously colorful and very loud processions.
Anyone can order such a procession to their home or business. On improvised altars food, drinks, incense sticks, candles and sweets are prepared and distributed to the participants. Supported and guided by prudent companions, the Mah Song dances in front of this altar blessing home and family members or business and co-workers. In order to keep away the evil and envious spirits, long chains of large firecrackers are incessantly burned.
Because of the many brutal scenes that show the spirit embodied media pierced by knives and sabers in rituals, the Vegetarian Festival is considered to be the most dangerous in the world. However, the Mah Song emphasize again and again that they do not suffer injury or pain as they are protected by the gods’ orders. That is almost unbelievable, watching their awesome performances and seeing them mishandling each other with martial objects.
As a spectator, it is important to be constantly on guard, if one wants to experience the magical powers of the Mah Song without being damaged themselves.