2017/02/15

The Jinjiang River Goddesses of Three Sisters


Legend has it that the three daughters of the Dragon King of the Jinjiang River were touring around the Canshan Mountains and Erhai Lake, when they found that people living at the foot of the Lianhua Mountain in Fengyi County were suffering severe drought. The eldest sister then asked her younger sisters to go back to the Dragon King's palace, leaving herself alone to tackle the water problem for local people.

She disguised as an old lady and examined the drought conditions in the fields and villages, where there were no water for growing rice seedlings and even not enough drinking water for humans and animals alike. The villagers had seeds of barnyard grass for meal. Then she brought out a bucket-thick column of spring water by magic at the foot of the Lianhua Mountain, enabling the villagers to grow rice seedlings. And there was no water shortage ever since. To express their gratitude for the Dragon King’s eldest daughter, people from the three villages of Huaying, Puhe and Banzhuang built a patron goddess temple, where her image was enshrined. She was therefore respected as the patron goddess and given the title of Jinjiang River Goddess.

The second daughter of the Dragon King was exceptionally beautiful. While she was at a March fair in Dali, she was harassed by a lustful childe called "Dongjia Luolong" from Haidong, who was dazzled by her beauty and inserted a fresh flower in her hair. Being disgraced in public, the second sister, together with the third sister, went to Haidong to punish Dongjia Luolong. On their way there, they passed by Rock Mountain of Haidong, which was in severe drought conditions. The second sister's heart went out to the industrious and kind people in misery, so she brought a heavy rain by magic, gushing clear spring water from the mountainside. After that, the areas at the foot of the mountain were permanently free from drought. After punishing the lustful guy, the two sisters returned to Rock Mountain. Attracted by the mountain's gorgeous scenery, they decided to live by the Ciyun Creek in the mountain. Learning about this, people living in the villages at the foot of the mountain built a patron goddess temple for the second sister, who was respected as the patron goddess and given the title of Ciyun Creek Goddess.

After that, the second sister sent her younger sister to live in the Green Dragon Mountain accompanied by Master Wuzhong, a trusted servant of the second sister, so that the third sister wouldn’t feel lonely. When arrived in the Green Dragon Mountain, the third sister channeled water and brought rain for local villagers. Like her two elder sisters, she, too, was respected as the patron goddess and given the title of Jinling Goddess. Later, when the Dragon King of the Jinjiang River came to visit his three daughters, he was intoxicated by the beautiful scenery in the Canshan Mountains and Erhai Lake and decided to settle down at the foot of the Green Dragon Mountain to keep the slightly lonely girls company.

Every year, the patron goddess festival in honor of the three Jinjing River sisters starts at the 5th day of the first lunar month and ends at the 25th. During the festival, various performances including Daben ballad singing, lion dances and dragon dances are staged in the ten villages where the goddesses are worshipped. As the three sisters liked spring outings, their statues are carried in a sedan chair in turn to tour around all ten villages as part of the festival celebrations. When the tours are complete, their statues are sent back to their respective patron goddess temples.

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