There is a Plague Marshal Well in the south of the Dingsheng Bridge. A plague Marshal Pavilion is built beside the well. The Pavilion has a picture of the Plague Marshal. The title of the pavilion is "Marshal Plague", and the couplet pasted on both sides says "Protecting the people with love, and hero of fighting the plague".
Legend has it that Marshal Pestilence was a scholar who was enthusiastic and eager for justice. There was one year when a drought occurred in the south of the Yangtze River. The river dried up, and people had to obtain water from wells for drinking, so the water was as expensive as oil. One day, the scholar found a devil poisoning the well. The next day, the scholar stood by the well and refused to let people get water. Many people who did not know the truth scolded and beat him. With all kinds of helplessness, the scholar jumped into the well. When people salvaged the drowned scholar, they found that his face was deathly pale, his teeth were cracked and his eyes were protruding. It was a symptom of being poisoned. They thus knew that he was a hero who died for the safety of people. Therefore, they regarded him as Marshal of Pestilence and made a statue for him. They hoped that he could drive out the pestilence spirits from the heaven and continue to be a hero and bring benefits to local people. Marshal Pestilence's statue is ferocious and full of anger. This, in fact, is to suppress the pestilence.
The day when the scholar jumped into the well to protect the locals was May 15th in the lunar calendar. Thus, Wuzhen has a custom that marshals of plague will be greeted once a year on May 15th of the lunar calendar.
When the meeting was held, Marshal Pestilence was lifted out with a sedan and moved to parade in the street. He was asked to catch the pestilence ghosts wandering in the streets into the prepared urn. The reception procession was spectacular, with gongs ringing in front and hard boards guarding. Behind the procession, two men carried an empty wine bowl, in which there was a blue-faced ghost head with a rope tied to his head. The rope passed through the pulley on the lifting bar and was pulled as the two men moved. The Ghost Head intermittently appeared out of the mouth of the bowl, which was called collecting the pestilence ghosts. Behind them are the other two men carrying an iron pot. The charcoal-burning hot pot is said to be a deterrent. Marshal Pestilence's sedan followed, and finally come the eight judges for protecting the sedan with knives and guns. It is said that in midsummer there would be no plague.
This event may originate from people’s fear for plague, and underdeveloped medicine level for removing the plague in the ancient time, so people could imagine the image of Marshal Plague to get away fear and pray for peace.Keyword: Marshal Plague