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Located in the south of Hubei, known as "the South Gate of Hubei", Xianning has great renown for “Chibi old haunt of the Three Kingdoms, inland nuclear power city”, which has great advantages of its "mountain", "water" "geography","location","culture","scenery","energy"and the trend of development. Xianning is a suitable place to do ...[more]
location
Xianning City, attached to Hubei Province, known as “the southern gateway to Hubei”, is famous for sweet-scented os... [more]
Administrative divisions
Lying in the southeast of Hubei Province, along the south bank of the Yangtze River, and at the junction of Hunan, Hu... [more]
History
 Despite the late administrative construction of Xianning (prefecture-level city), the counties and urban districts under its administration all have a long history. The territory of today’s Xianning belonged to Jing Chu in the Xia and Shang Dynasties ( about 2200-1100 BC), Nan County in the Qin Dynasty(221-206 BC ), [more]
Local God of the Land Presiding over Weddings for Widows
http://English.xianning.gov.cn 11-01-06
 

  The local god of the land, also known as “the god of blessings” is a poor one who enjoys great fame and widespread respect.

  Long ago, at the foot of Jiugong Mountain resided a young and beautiful widow, docile and virtuous. One day, collecting greenfeed for pigs, she saw a pair of aigrettes chattering merrily on an ancient tree just outside the village. This scene brought out her tears, driving her to cry in secret under the tree beside the temple of the land god. Amidst her tears, a whitebeard turned out from the back of the tree, asking,” What’s the matter, my lady?” Watching the aigrettes, the young widow started, “Thanks for your kindness. But my heart already followed the one in heaven.” After this, she rose and departed, with the aged man smiling and nodding.

  Shortly after the young widow there came a young woodcutter who had lost her wife. Having putting the firewood down, he took a rest by the temple. Similarly, the intimate aigrettes reminded him of his deceased wife, leading to a fit of sorrow. At that time, the whitebeard also showed up, talking to him, “Why are sighing for, son?” The young man gazed at the aigrette couple, saying, “Thank you, grandpa. But my heart stays with another one in the paradise.” Again, the senior smiled and nodded.

  Three days lapsed, and the young widow and the woodcutter both returned to the tree, standing with their back against each other and looking for someone anxiously. So eager were they that the two uttered simultaneously, “Where is the old man? What has become of him?” By then they realized that they were both waiting for the same person, for three nights back, both had encountered a queer incident that a whitebeard came to their houses, telling them, “Go to the ancient tree three days later and there is good news for you.” Their talk grew inciting as their drew closer and closer. Then suddenly the old man showed himself from back of the tree, laughing heartily, “Jack shall have Jill, all shall be well. Since you share the fate, why not marry each other? If trouble comes to you, three days later find me here you will.” Just as the senior predicted the forthcoming marriage between a widow and a widower spread fast amongst villagers and created stern opposition from parents of both sides, since at that time, there was no precedent of a widow remarrying. In desperation, they told the truth. On day three, the two families, a huge flock of people, arrived before the ancient tree to reckon with the obnoxious matchmaker who turned out to be long waiting there. He gave a laugh and vanished in a blink of an eye, leaving one yellow piece of couplet by the temple of the land god, on which it goes, “Reasonable it stands for a young man to be loved; Natural it stands for a young widow to be married.” The message finally sank in among them all that it was the god of the land who did the matchmaking for the young couple and what could be more reasonable than that?

  From then on, widows do not have to stay single for a lifetime. Instead, another tradition has been established that before she remarries, a widow’s former parents-in-law shall bring her to the temple of the land god, announce the remarriage statement and ask the land god to preside the marriage ceremony. Afterwards, the couple shall kneel down, facing the temple, and kowtow to express their gratitude.

  The story is narrated by Nie Weibang and compiled by Wan Lihuang.


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