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Chicago Celestials

Chicago Celestials image
Parent Issue
Day
8
Month
September
Year
1886
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

[Speclalhlcaeo Cor.cpomlencel Th lOth oí August, 1886, was high holiday among the believers in Vu- (he doctrine of Kung-fu-tse, or Contado -resident ia Chicago. Altliougli effoils have been made from time to time to unite tlia Celestial of the West into a religieus body, no salisfactory resulta werechron( led until last .lanuurv, hen seventy-five (ir more of the pig-tailed heathen agreed to observe sume of the festivals instituted bj past and present Sons of Hoaven, individual koown in other conntries as Kmperora. In accordance with the agreenient alluded to, the Chicago Mongolians who concluded to cling to tlieir ancient belief havo appropriatoly colebrated four or live festivals of minor importanco by indulging in picnics, promenades and opium Bittings, but not until the lOth of August were they enabled to display truo religious zeal. The teaching of Confucius aro founded 14)011 five principies, or, as the Chinese cali thern, "live virtues1' - Benevolenco, liiirliteousness, I'ropriety, Knowledjre and Faith - and the tromhip ol godsoridols and ancestors. The daj all -eadv nientioned 18 Ret apart by Chinese eustoms and edicts for doiug honor to the nicuiory of ancestors, and has becoine known as the "Feast of Servants." Uerotofore tliifl high holiday lias been observed by individual Celestials, but this year about sixty of the yellow c itjzens of Chicago gathered together to do liomagc to their departed fathers. Th ceremonie connected with the proper cclfcbration of the "Feabt of Servanta" are exceeedingly jieculiar and impressive, and as they have never been described an account of the rit incident to the festival will, perhaps, ])rove interesting and inêtructlve. Earry 11 the morning every trae believer wil! offer prayersto his favorito god in behalf of his uucestors and imI Imi the idol to permit the lorefathsr of the petitioni'r to blrss, galde, strengthen and protect hlm. At noon a pía ver is addreRsed to the aneestors in which their pujding.care is solicited, and at eventidu hu additlonal supplicatioo io lioih th idpl and ancestrv (raven for similar, favors. These dutiea havlng been petlormed in due and aiiclent fotm th Chicajro Celestials assamblad at a Clark street laundry in the eveninf; to conclude the proper observance of the feaBt by the oöering of "servants" to their forefathers. Each one of the worshipers he'.d in his left hand a enrloualy-ahapad paper imago of a man, mnch rtMmbliDtt the common doll-baby of the civilizod world, whilo tb rigkt wai emplojedtn Bwinging a perlumed taper. These motions wero accompanied by n fervent prayer, at tho conclusión of which the heathen devoteos ltghtsd the (apen, and, suspending the imagei Irom a ítrfng, set them on fire. When the "Hci-vants" wero partiall ƒ conBnmed bj Vb llames t tic men chantad anollier suijplicution, and ;tn tho last flicket of tho paper dolU mlicatcd their Bpeedj transfer to anotlier world the conpregationretirod into the nooks and cranjiies of the semi-subterranciui waBhinppstabliahment and concludcd the ceremonies ol the day hy Bilent devotions. In explanation of thig seemingly silly ceremony it must be stated thut the misguided Mongolianslirmljrbeliovothat these image iramediately upon tlioir consumption by iireassume humanform andascend to heaven, wliero tlieyinforra the anceators of tho worshipors of" tho doings of their children on earth ;vnd continue to act as eervantfl to tho glorified througli all eternity. Tho images, aa I have said, are verT ordinarj paper dolls, with ugly, painted faces and pigtails reaching from thecrown of the head to the calf of the legs. Their manufacture is aid to be controlled by the J'ekhi Government, and do truc subject of the "Son "f Ile.iven" would bc puilty ol the sarrilepoua crimo olimitating tho "servants." Altluiuli thecoetofmanu[ai ture oí t lie trifles can iiot exceed half a cent a dozen, arcording to th C'lniicse acale of wageg, lliey aro sokl ata prico correapondlog with a dolliir ol our money. Stíll, lien one cormulers tbal tlio "Bcrvant" will have to serve its purchaser'sforcfathers tbrough uil eternltv the prlce is not so pnnt as it mijjlit tppear al nrt giane Spwking lo Wnli Tung-Ui, ona oí the moat rouiinfut Oilimnn n "I lb WcsUt Slatpg, nbont the reHgions peouliaritie ol I liis lountr.vmen the otlicr day, this typical Celestial and religious fanatic ntormed me that n movetncnt was on foot at tho present time to bring about a more powerful vnion lietwoen the Mongoliani ol tho Western States than that existing now. According to tho eame authoi-ity thero ar but two joss-Lonaes in ciintpnce in thi country - one at San Francisco and one at New York - and if the numerouH believen Bcattered throughout the West would nssist in raisine; tho necessary tunds, ha thought that a third one iniglit bo entablislied ii: Chicago. A joss-housc is a miniatura temple, eight by ton foet in size and about twelre fect liiii, bn il t in tho pagoda, etyle. and contains a richly-carved idol ombellished with precious metáis and goms. This "houso" is visited by the faitliful a% stated intervals and on holidayfl, and no one is allowed to approach the shrine unless he lias burned at least one jons-stick, a richly-pprfiiiiHiil reed about twice as lone as the ordimiry lead-pencil. The "joss," or idol, in tlicn approached by the progtrate worshiper who confideutly offi-rs his pr.-iyers to tlie god. Tho country tributary to Oiirago contains. ncoordioc to ray informant, about ono thousand Celestialn, and if cacli ono of thom wuuld contribute threo or four dollars a nc.it joss-house could be procured from China. The joss-houseR, Rocallrd, at Penver, Col., and Virginia City, New. are not recognized by true bclievers, as they were put up and manufactured by private Individúala and not erected under the suptTviflion ol the properChinese authoritiea. Of course, very Monaolianbflieving in th doctrino ot Confuciua has his individual idols, small affairs made of clay or nood, Tuut Uiey can not render as efficiënt service as tho high muckamuck in a joss-house. Not all of the Chimimcn in Chicago are, however, believers in the religión of Yu, or Contuclus. Iu fact, manv of the most intelligent and progressive laundrymen are adherents to a syatem ot vcry pronounoed rationalism, knoirn in China fis Taou, whilo others profese a belief in Jo, or 1 lic twoMagl of liudcllia. The doctrines of the latter class have become verj popular of late years among the more enlightened classes of the Chinese Empire and- I sayit with regret- among the super a'sthotical and overedueated Theosophists of Boston and New York. Great progresa has been made in Chriatianizing Chinamcn residing in this city, and a sketch of the Celestial dwellers in Chicago would not be complete without a glance at aChineso miasion Sunday-school. They have proved to be industrious and patiënt scholars, and while, in accordance with early training, they are slow in changing opinions their everyiluv life provea tliut the tcachings of the good women who have undertaken the urork of their enlightenmcut have borne precious fruit. Whereaé thpy formerly ¦tudiously avoided every indication of energy, they are now evor on the alert for chances looking toward an improvcinent in their conlition and anxiouB to acquire the language of the country. Many have already diacarded their idols, and the very fact that luit six ty out of soveral hundreds participatcd in thegreat Feast of Servanta provcs that the Sunday-school workers have been very successful. The more intelligent have gone so far as to discard their Chinese clothes, while a few have even removed that pride of the true-blue Chinaman - the pig-tail. I'rofessions of conversión to thoChristian faith have not been as frequent as might be wished, but, as I said, it takes patienco and perseverance to overeóme the prejudice of these ignorant and deluded pcople. So much is certain, however, that idolatry has lost ts attractions for the great majority of their number, and frora this fact the reader will readüy arrive at the conclusión that the reigns of Confucius and Buddha are nearing their end in Chicago, and the same can be eaid for all of the smaller cit es in the Western States. It is perhaps uselees to mention that the majority ot Cbinamen in thig city are engaged in the laundry business. The stranger walking along the streeta will observe at almost every other corner of the business st reets a red sign with plain Knelish and cRbalistic inscriptions which informs him that John is over ready to wash his clothes in his basement establinhment at prices that defy competition. A few of the Celestials have devoted their energie to morcantile pursuits. One of thom manages a genuine Chinese drug store, and another has establiehed a physidan's oliice. All of them aro industrious, frugal and polite, and all of them are honest - if propcrly watrhed. They are very fond of amusements of all kinds, attond theaters and circuseB, and some of them have developed into enthuaiasts on the subject of baseball. Taking them na a whole, the subjects of the "Light of Pay" are very good citizens, and, as I heard an Irishman say the other day: "tbero are a great manr worse men in the penitontiarj than

Article

Subjects
Ann Arbor Courier
Old News