Villain hitting, Da Siu Yan (打小人) or demon exorcising is a folk sorcery popular in the Guangdong area of China and Hong Kong. Its purpose is to curse one's enemies using magic. Villain hitting is often considered a humble career, and the ceremony is often performed by older ladies.
The concept of "villain" is divided into two types: specific villain and general villain.
Specific villains are individuals cursed by the villain hitter due to the hatred of their enemies who employ the hitter. A villain could be a famous person hated by the public such as a politician or could be personally known to their enemy, such as when the request is to curse a love rival.
Villain hitters may help their clients curse a general villain: a group of people potentially harmful to the clients.
Dualism is mainstream in the traditional Chinese world view, and many different kinds of folk sorcery beliefs derive from this view. The concept of Villain (小人) and Gui Ren (貴人, people who will do something good to the clients) comes as a result of this yin and yang world view.
Date & Location
The period for villain hitting is different among temples, but Jingzhe is the most popular date. According to some folklore, Jingzhe is the date when the whole of creation is awakened by thunder. As a result, different kinds of foul spirits including byakko and villains become active. Consequently, villain hitting on this day serves to prevent those harmful to others.
Villain hitting is often done in gloomy places such as somewhere under an overpass. In Hong Kong, the Canal Road Flyover between Causeway Bay and Wan Chai is a popular place for villain hitting. There are many villain hitters here especially on Jingzhe.
Receiving orders from clients, villain hitters require human-shaped papers with or without some information of specific people. As part of the ceremony, they beat the papers with shoes or other implements. The whole ceremony of villain hitting is divided into 8 parts:
- Sacrifice to divinities (奉神)：Worship deities by Incense and Candle.
- Report (稟告)：Write down the name and the date of birth of the client on the Fulu (符籙). If the client request to hit a specific villain, then write down or put the name, date of birth, photo or clothings of the specific villain on the villain paper.
- Villain hitting (打小人)：Make use of a varieties of symbolic object such as the shoe of clients or the villain hitter or other religious symbolic weapon like incense sticks to hit or hurt the villain paper. Villain paper can also replaced by other derivative such as man paper, woman paper, five ghost paper etc.
- Sacrifice to Bái Hǔ (祭白虎)：The hitter have to make sacrifice to Bái Hǔ if they want to hit villain on Jingzhe. Use a yellow paper tiger to represent Bái Hǔ, there are black stripes on the paper tiger and a pair of shape tooth in its mouth. During the sacrifice a small piece of pork is soaked by blood of pig and then put inside the mouth of the paper tiger (to feed Bái Hǔ). Bái Hǔ won't hurt others after being full. Sometimes they will also smear a greasy pork on Bái Hǔ's mouth to make its mouth full of oil and unable to open its mouth to hurt people. In some regional sacrifice the villain would burn the paper tiger or cut off its head after making sacrifice to it.
- Reconciliation (化解)
- Pray for blessings (祈福)：Use a red Gui Ren paper to pray for blessings and help from Gui Ren.
- Treasure Burning (進寶)：Burn the paper-made-treasure to worship the spirits。
- Zhi Jiao (擲筊) (or so-called "cup hitting" [打杯])：Zhi Jiao, to cast two crescent-shaped wooden piece to undergo the Zhi Jiao ceremony.