Major Festivals of Taoist Deities

The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall at night during the lantern festival

PhiloVivero / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

This list highlights the main festivals celebrated in most Taoist temples, organized by lunar month. Some of the larger festivals—e.g. Chinese New Year, the Festival Of Lanterns, the Dragon Boat Festival, the Ghost Festival, and the Mid-Autumn Festival—are celebrated also as secular holidays.

1. Zhēngyuè

  • 1st day: Tai-shang Lao-chun (Lao-tzu). Lao-tzu is the founder of Taoism; deified, he is seen as the embodiment of Tao—the origin of all of manifestation. The new moon of the first lunar month also marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year.
  • 8th day: Yuan-shih Tien-tsun, or Wu-chi Tien-tsun—the Jade Pure One—the first of the “Three Pure Ones,” or emanations of Lao-tzu
  • 9th day: Yu-ti, the Birthday of the Jade Emperor
  • 15th day: Tien-kuan, the Officer of the Celestial Realm; the Festival of Lanterns is also part of this celebration

2. Xìngyuè

  • 2nd day: Birthday of Tu-ti Gong: the Earth Father—the Dragon Head Raising Festival is part of this celebration
  • 3rd day: Birthday of Wen-chang Ti-chun, patron of the arts & literature
  • 6th day: Tung-yueh Ti-chun, the Emperor of the Eastern Mountain
  • 15th day: Tao-te Tien-tsun, Shang-ching or High Pure One—the third of the “Three Pure Ones,” rules the realm of pa-kua. Also, the birthday of Lao-tzu: the founder of Taoism.
  • 19th day: Birthday of Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy

3. Táoyuè

  • 3rd day: Birthday of Xuantian Shangdi: God of Rain
  • 15th day: Chiu-tien Hsuan-nu, the Mysterious Lady of the Nine Celestial Domains
  • 18th day: Chung-yueh Ti-chun, the Emperor of the Central Mountain
  • 23rd day: Birthday of Mazu: Goddess of the Sea

4. Huáiyuè

  • 14th day: Birthday of Immortal Lu tung-pin, the patriarch of Internal Alchemy
  • 18th day: Tzu-wei Shing-chun, the Star Lord of the Star of Purple Light and the Lord of the North Star—ruler of all stars. Also, the birthday of Huato: Patron Saint of Medicine.

5. Púyuè

6. Héyuè

  • 1st day: Wen-ku and Wu-ku Stars—the Lords of the Scholar and Warrior Stars of the Northern Bushel; patron of scholars and warriors
  • 6th day: Tian Zhu Day
  • 23rd day: Ling-pao Tien-tsun, Tai-ching or Great Pure One—the second of the "Three Purities," ruler of the realm of Tai-chi
  • 24th day: Birthday of Guan Gong, God of Warriors

7. Qiǎoyuè

  • 7th day: His Wang-mu, Mother Empress of the West and keeper of the gateway to Immortality. "Double Seven Day."
  • 15th day: Birthday of Ti-kuan: Officer of Earth. Ghost Festival.
  • 30th day: Birthday of Dizang Wang, King of the Underworld.

8. Guìyuè

  • 3rd day: Tsao-chun, the Kitchen God, is the guardian of the stove and the flame; records the deeds of people in their homes
  • 10th day: Pei-yueh Ti-chun, the Emperor of the Northern Mountain
  • 15th day: Mid-Autumn Festival
  • 16th day: Birthday of Sun Wugong, the Monkey King

9. Júyuè

  • 1st through 9th day: Descent of the Northern Bushel Star Lords to Earth. Each person is said to be born under one of the nine Star Lords of the Northern Bushel Constellation. On each of these nine days, one of these stars visits the mortal realm to bless those born under their guardianship.
  • 1st day: Descent of the North Star Lord
  • 9th day: Tou-mu, the mother of the Bushel of Starsand patron of medicine, Internal Alchemy, and all healing arts. "Double Ninth Day."

10. Yángyuè

  • 1st day: "Ancestors Sacrifice Festival"
  • 5th day: Birthday of Damo (Boddhidharma), founder of Chan Buddhism & the father of Shaolin martial arts
  • 14th day: Fu Hsi, patron of all forms of divination
  • 15th day: Shui-kuan, the Officer of Water

11. Dōngyuè

  • 6th day: His-yueh Ti-chun, the Emperor of the Western Mountain
  • 11th day: Tai-i Tien-tsun, Celestial Lord Tai-i and reputed to have transmitted the Festival of Chung-yuan—All Souls Festival—to humanity

12. Làyuè

  • 16th day: Nan-yueh Ti-chun, the Emperor of the Southern Mountain
  • 23rd day: Kitchen Lord ascends to the celestial realm. At the end of the year, the Kitchen Lord reports the deeds of all humans to the Jade Emperor.