A Chinese Fable: The Eight Immortals

Deep Freeze Fête’s cultural fables

Provided by: Kevin Wong, past president of Parkdale-Cromdale Community League. Arts on the Ave has allowed RCP to post this fable online

The Eight Immortals separately represent male, female, the old, the young, the rich, the noble, the poor, and the humble Chinese. The talismans that they use, which are called, Hidden Eight Immortals, all have certain meanings. Zhang Guolao’s drum can augur life. Lu Dongbin’s sword can subdue the evil. Han Xingzi’s flute can cause growth. He Xiangu’s water lily can cultivate people through meditation. Tie Guaili’s gourd can help the needy and relieve the distressed. Zhong Liquan’s fan can bring the dead back to life. Cao Guojiu’s jade board can purify the environment. Lan Caihe’s basket of flowers can communicate with gods.

The sculptures are lit up at night. | Rebecca Lippiatt
Visit this site and others during Deep Freeze Fête. | Rebecca Lippiatt

The Eight Immortals are the gods who punish evildoers and encourage people to do good, help those in distress and aid those in peril. There are a lot of folk tales about them. The most famous ones are “The Eight Immortals Celebrate the Birthday” and “The Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea.” “The Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea,” tells that a god invites the Eight Immortals to take part in a party and appreciate peonies. On the way back, the Dragon King of the East Sea stops them and both sides begin a furious dispute. At last, the Eight Immortals and their friends take out their talismans and win. Then, they get across the sea. The legend of the Eight Immortals is one of the most moving Chinese ancient stories. It now has become the idioms and literary quotation commonly used by people. Especially among ordinary people, it has great influence, and some customs even spread to the inshore areas of Japan.

Be sure to check out all the other locations. | Rebecca Lippiatt

Eight Immortals Installation
Parkdale-Cromdale Community League
11335 85 St

Feature Image: The Eight Immortals is a Chinese fable re-created as an ice sculpture. | Rebecca Lippiatt

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