Sunday, November 02, 2008

Eastcoastlife Challenged the Mountain of Knives - WS #48

worshippers climbing the 'Mountain of Knives'

Would you Climb a 'Mountain of Knives' and Cleanse your body with Boiling Oil? (上刀山,下油锅法会) These are unusual Taoist rituals which worshippers believe could change their bad luck. (We need it in such tough times.)

The more common but equally mystical Taoist rituals are piercing tongues and parts of your body with sharp iron rods and walking on fire. *gasp*

stepping on rows of blades

On Saturday night, hundreds of worshippers (young, old, men and women) including EastCoastLife, queued for an hour to climb up and down steps lined with blades. There were 18 blades each way. Worshippers have to step bare-footed on the sharp blades.

To the believers, this ritual signifies the passage through obstacles and difficulties to attain a better life. It is believed to eliminate bad luck, evil, villains etc. Some worshippers ask for blessings and expect good fortune.

Before and after the climb, mediums would give their blessings and stamp a seal on each worshipper. For those who did not dare to step on the blades, there were wooden steps.

Long queues to perform the ritual

At the top of the 'Mountain', another medium would bless the worshippers and give them charms which have been blessed.

Those who wish to perform this ritual should abstain from consuming dog meat, beef, mutton, goose and yam. People in mourning and pregnant ladies are banned from participating.

The whole place was packed with people. Due to the amount of joss sticks burnt, I was suffocating from the smoke. It was a colourful event.

A medium blessing the worshippers

Want to know more about the Boiling Oil ritual? Come back and read EastCoastLife's daring experience. ;)


  1. Hi ECL. That's a very interesting belief and tradition. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Rachel,
    You're welcome! It's unique to me too. :)

  3. Hmmm..that's very interesting! But I wouldn't dare! I'm a chicken:D haha

  4. Yen,
    No, you are not.
    I'm too adventurous. haha...

  5. Sounds like Thaipusam(spelling?) to me.
    Taoism has lots of these huge prayers which are interesting and entertaining.

    It has been a nitemare week for me *bleah*

  6. I salute you for being so daring!

    For me, I won't have waited one hour just to queue to walk on knives....

  7. ECL,
    You ask me, I also don't dare to walk. You're brave lah, ECL!:)

    Eh, if it was required to stab yourself with knife once, would you do? haha! Just wondering lah. hehehe.

  8. My goodness ECL! How sharp is sharp? And how are your feet today?

  9. This is very much interesting. From the description you have given- walking on blades and piercing, I imagined it to be something like the Thaipusam celebration here in Malaysia for the Hindus. They do some serious piercing too and it can be pretty scary.

    I thought you would put up your pics too :( Interesting! btw, curious to know, how sharp are the blades? how do you step on them without getting hurt?

  10. I'm way too chicken, my friend. I will settle for hearing about your experiences :)

  11. napaboaniya,
    The rituals of piercing parts of the body and walking on fire are similar to Thaipusam. There are too many of these prayer events these days. They are money-spinners, lots of donations are collected during such events. :P

  12. oceanskies,
    Some would say I've nothing better to do! haha....
    Yah, I'm bored. I need excitement. :P

    I did it for my blog post while many of them did it for a change of good fortune. *shrug shoulders*

  13. Kok,
    There were young children, women and the elderly who participated in this ritual.... although most of them walk on the wooden steps.

    If I tell you I couldn't walk after that, you know what happened. haha... :(

    If I'm required to stab myself once.... either to make a strong statement or send a strong message to the Government, I would.

    For silly self-promotion, no way.

  14. A.
    Of course the blades were not purposely sharpened for this ritual. The knives can slice through cucumbers and probably require greater strength to chop a hand in two. haha....

    If we don't jump on the blades, it wouldn't cut us badly. They are slightly blunt but when my weight is placed on a blade, it does hurt.

    I was told if I'm sincere, I should tolerate the pain and try to step on all 36 blades.... with both bare feet at each step.

    Ta da!! I'm fine. :)

  15. Farah,
    Yes, these rituals are similar to the rituals of Thaipusam. The piercing rituals are too gruesome to watch. My knees went weak....

    Blades were not sharpened for this ritual ..... imagine walking on a upturned thin sheet of steel. You could say it's blunt.

    I handed my camera to one of the onlookers but he shook the camera while taking my photos and the pictures went blurred. *grrrr....*

  16. Gran,
    awwww.... you're no chicken!
    I'm too bold. I assessed the risks before taking the challenge.

  17. oh wow. that is a very ineteresting ritual. and yes i would love to experience it too. maybe we all need it with the current economic crisis haha. thank you for sharing. happy Monday! my WS entry is here

  18. that's very ineteresting.. and looks like a lot of fun too.As always my Weekend Snapshot is in sequence be sure to visit all to see the realtion between the 3 entries my

    Our halloween escapade.. Trick or treat at Kids Ahoy..

    View the sweet here, the pretty here and the naughty here.

    I am also hosting a giveaway at my new site sweetytots a 3pc Musical Intrument set. Perfect for the kids. Id like to invite you to join here

  19. Kero,
    Glad that you are willing to try this. :)It's not as scary as people imagine.

    When people are losing jobs, money, sleep... they would probably try anything to get out of the rut. :P

  20. Architect,
    You had Fun and interesting finds on your Halloween too. :)
    I don't have young kids so gonna pass the giveaway.

  21. Interesting post. I'd have to use the wooden steps.

  22. very interesting! i would do that if i had a chance.

    happy week!

    ibyang :)

  23. Came back to let you know that I just posted mine.

    Have a lovely Monday.

  24. Oh ECL, you always have the best pictures and most interesting stories. I love this one too!!

    I hope you can stop by and see what we did on Saturday night.

    It did involve knives...but, not these kind!!

    Thanks for always sharing such great things with us!!

    Happy week:-)))

    Hugs too:-)

  25. Shinade,
    I have a good nose for interesting news. haha....

    Hope you didn't do anything harmful with those knives. hehe...

  26. interest weekend you had...

    My WS entry this week : in HERE and HERE. Hope you have time to visit . Thanks

  27. i've heard of this & seen this on tv but nvr in my real life! for sure im gonna be back to read abt yr boiling oil experience, ECL! :)

    btw, great makeover! Your blog load fastre now and it's more organized! :)

  28. OMG this is for real? I'll never dare to step on the blades. Wooden one ok lah. Hehehe

  29. Hello Jean!
    Long time no see. :)

    I'm usually too scared to watch these people mutilate or hurt themselves, but I was a part of it that day!

    Thanks to LadyJava!! She did this for me. :)

  30. Doreen,
    Real. hehe....

    Looking at the blades, you get scared but when you summon your courage and stepped on it, it gets easier.

    If one slips and falls, there will be a heap of sliced meat at the bottom of the stairs. hahaha....

  31. To everybody its own pleasure, lol ! I prefer an escalator without blades and a soft bed !

  32. how does it feel to climb a mountain of knives?

  33. Very fascinating, ECL but I wouldn't dare climb it. I miss you :-)

  34. Gattina,
    hahaha.... the escalator without blades definitely offers a great ride. :)

    er... the soft bed is not too good for my creaking bones. ;P

  35. karen,
    scary. ;P

    You can try it for yourself next year. It's an annual ritual.

  36. Emmyrose!!

    I won't allow you to climb it. Too dangerous for you. :)

  37. Actually, you needn't have to walk on knives to blog about it! But I suppose in some ways, walking on knives demonstrates that you are an adventurous person, and brave too.

  38. Cleanse urself in boiling oil?? Aiyo, how does that work eh?? Looking forward to ur daring adventure he he! ;)

  39. quite an intriguing tradition. do you have photos of the boiling oil sessions? how often would you do this?

  40. Gosh, stepping on blades? Nerve wrecking!! Can't wait for the boiling oil ritual : )

  41. oceanskies,
    Yah, I didn't have to. I'm curious (kaypoh), so die die must try. haha..... unique experience wor.

  42. Mariuca,
    Building up the tension... haha....
    A very interesting ritual.
    Cleanse in Hot boiling oil!

  43. the donG,
    Of course I have the photos. I need to show evidence, how can I lie?

    It's an annual ritual. I just came across it, am trying for the first time. :)

  44. foongpc,
    One slip and I could be shredded. :)
    To wash in boiling oil is unimaginable! I have photos to prove. :D

  45. really interesting post, thanks for sharing

  46. hmm...i wonder if i can actually try this. btw, thanks for visiting my blog:) there are many places in the philippines to see. U can check my other blog too to see some pictures there:)