The Goddess of Childbirth - Zhu Sheng Niang Niang (注生娘娘) is a fertility deity in Folk Taoist Culture.
She is in charge of pregnancy, delivery of infant, protection of mother and child. She holds a book and a brush reflecting the Chinese practise of recording new born child in the family lineage records. She also have 12 goddess assistants to protect and care for the children until teenage years (12 to 15 years old).
She is worshiped by the Southern Chinese (especially the Hokkien and Teochew community) and her birthday is celebrated on Chinese Lunar Calendar of 20th day of the 3rd lunar month.
Women who hope to have children or those who are productivity challenged will pray to her for help in conceiving and safe delivery.
Who is Zhu Sheng Niang Niang (注生娘娘)?
There are different stories and legends of different Chinese Goddesses Of Fertility / Childbirth in different parts of China.
Over here will only focus on the one prayed by the Southern Chinese Communities and Oversea Chinese in South East Asia.
Zhu Sheng Niang Niang (注生娘娘) is a Goddess Figure derived from 3 Goddesses recorded in the Ming Dynasty Novel - Feng Shen Yan Yi (封神演义).
The 3 Goddesses are the 3 younger sisters of Warrior Gods Of Wealth - Zhao Gong Ming (赵公明):
- Zhao Yun Xiao (赵云霄)
- Zhao Qiong Xiao (赵琼霄)
- Zhao Bi Xiao (赵碧霄)
1) Hun Yuan Jin Dou (混元金斗) - use as the basin to wash newborn baby.
2) Jin Jiao Jian (金蛟剪) - use as the scissor to cut the newborn's umbilical cord.
Later on, the 3 goddesses were combined into 3 In 1, known as Zhu Sheng Niang Niang (注生娘娘).
注生娘娘俗称「注生妈」，其来历是出自《封神传》。 注生娘娘的生平，据《封神榜》第九十九回：姜子牙于封神台上，依太上元始敕命：尔云霄、琼霄、碧霄三姑，敕封尔掌「混元金斗」专擅先后之天，凡一应仙凡入圣，诸侯天子，贵贱贤愚，落地先从金斗转劫，不得越此，敕封为「感应事先姑正神之位」。「混元金斗」即人间之净桶，凡人之生育，皆从此化生也。金蛟剪，为古时妇女生产剪断婴儿肚脐的剪刀。 今人称为注生娘娘其实就是三合一的称法。
Another Popular Goddess of Childbirth In Fu-Zhou, China and Fu-Zhou People In Taiwan:
Madam Lin Shui (临水夫人- Ling Shui Fu Ren) as Zhu Sheng Niang Niang (注生娘娘).
Madam Lin Shui (临水夫人- Ling Shui Fu Ren) was a woman, who had learnt Taoist Magical Skills in Mt. Lǘ (闾山) and was good at subduing demons.
The Story of the Water Margin Lady - (臨水夫人 Lin Shui Fu Ren) who became Chinese Goddess Of Childbirth - Zhu Sheng Niang Niang (注生娘娘)
''After my death, I will become a spirit to help women who suffer from difficult labor"
The Water-Margin Lady - (临水夫人 Lin Shui Fu Ren) was also known as the Great Lady ( 大奶夫人- Da Nai Fu Ren ), the Lady of Good Virtue ( 順懿夫人 - Shun Yi Fu Ren ), Chen Qin Gu (陈靖姑), and Chen Jin Gu (陈进故).
Chen Qin Gu came from Fuzhou prefecture, which is located in Xia Du, Luo Yuan County, Fujian province (闽县藤山下渡).
Her father, Chen Chang （陈昌), was a finance minister, and her mother's family surname was Ge (葛氏).
In popular stories, a fingernail of the Goddess of Mercy (Avalokitesvara) was reincarnated as Chen Qin Gu. She was actually born on the Chinese Lunar Calendar 15 day of the 1st lunar month in the second Da Li Era(大曆) of the Tang dynasty (767 A.D).
According to the Casual Record of the Ming Capital (闽都别记 - Min Du Bie Ji), when Chen Qin Gu was born, the whole room was covered by colorful clouds, and the garden was filled with auspicious air, which was considered by her neighbors as a miracle as well as a good sign.
As a little girl, she was intelligent, virtuous and dignified. She started to learn the Daoist Skill of Mt. Lǘ (闾山) at the age of thirteen. Three years later, she finished her training and went home. Then she obeyed her parents' advice and married Liu Qi(刘杞), a man in Gu Tian county (古田县).
In the second summer after the founding of the Min state, her hometown was afflicted with a severe drought. Then Chen Qin Gu became pregnant for several months. The drought killed all plants and crops, leaving people helpless. In response to appeals from the local people, the Water-Margin Lady, then aged twenty-four, paid no attention to her pregnancy.
At the cost of miscarriage, she came to the temple, praying for rain by using her Taoist Magical Skills. It worked. A heavenly rain washed away the drought. But Water-Margin Lady was herself killed.
After that, she ascended to heaven by Deliverance from the Corpse. When she passed away, she said:
''After my death, I will become a spirit to help women who suffer from difficult labor".
Local people set up temples in Gu Tian, showing respect to her statues, which were constructed according to Chen Qin Gu's appearance.
During the Chun You (淳祐) era of the Song dynasty (1241-1252), she was granted the title of 'Lady of Lofty Fortune, Brilliant Grace and Benevolent Salvation' ( 崇福昭惠慈濟夫人 - Chong Fu Zhao Hui Ci Ji Fu Ren ) as well as that of 'Lady of Good Virtue'.
In later times, the title of Emerald Cloud and Blue Soul Heavenly Immortal Mother of Universal Salvation" ( 天仙聖母青靈普化碧霞元君 - Tian Xian Sheng Mu Qing Ling Pu Hua Bi Zia Yuan Jun ) was also conferred on her.
During the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, she won herself more titles, which included 'Water-Margin Lady of Lofty Fortune ( 临水崇福夫人 - Lin Shui Chong Fu Fu Ren), Primordial Lady of Good Virtue and Holy Motherhood, etc.
She was normally referred to as the 'Heavenly Lord of Benevolence and Sincerity" ( 惠忱慈量天尊 - Hui Chen Si Liang Tian Zun ) in Daoist books.
- Zhu Sheng Niang Niang (注生娘娘) Birthday Celebration is 20th of the 3rd lunar month Of Chinese Calendar.
- Lin Shui Fu Ren (臨水夫人) Birthday Celebration is 15 day of the 1st lunar month Of Chinese Calendar.
If You are able to find a Chinese Temple with Altar of Zhu Sheng Niang Niang (注生娘娘), You can go and pray by yourself. Ask the Temple assistant to guide You. Below is the basic instructions:
- Hoping to conceive either sex of baby, just pray to Zhu Sheng Niang Niang (注生娘娘) and say Your wish
- If You hope for a baby boy, pray and offer Zhu Sheng Niang Niang (注生娘娘) with White Flowers
- If You hope for a baby girl, pray and offer Zhu Sheng Niang Niang (注生娘娘) with Red Flowers
Related Post: Is There Any Taoist Ritual Or Prayer To Hope For A Baby?