Ne Zha is shown holding a hoop, spear and standing on a pair of flaming wheels, which he uses to fly through the universe. He is considered one of the protection deities and is also known as the Third Lotus Prince (Sam Tai Tze), Na Cha, La Zha, and Nezha. In Taoist beliefs, he is referred to as the “Marshal of the Central Altar” and is greatly respected and worshipped by many.
According to the stories, Ne Zha was the son of Li Jing, a legendary Chinese general. From the beginning, there was something unusual about Ne Zha as the tale reports that he remained in his mother’s womb for 3 years and 6 months before deciding to be born. He brought much trouble onto his family as a child and finally, after killing one of the sons of the Dragon King, realized he may have placed their lives in danger. To save his family and the villages, he left the area and killed himself as a sacrifice meant to redeem the loss of the Dragon King’s son. His distraught mother sought the help of a deity who intervened and brought Nazha back to life. Only Nazha reborn was much different. He was the epitome of virtue, bravery, respect, and responsibility. He quickly became known for his heroic deeds in subduing demons and ghosts, and the Jade Emperor named him as the chief commander of the 36 celestial Beings of Heaven, who are responsible for guarding its gates.
In Chinese Taoist tradition, Ne Zha is displayed in the belief that it will not only protect one from evil but increase one’s luck in gambling and playing the lottery. Of all the deities, he’s thought to be probably the only one mischievous enough to reveal the winning numbers! Parents also often seek his help in hopes of gaining intervention with misbehaving and out-of-control children.