Monday, February 26, 2007

Tribute to Jade Emperor - Chinese New Year 9th Lunar Day

Ryan, with his first Angpow given by his granpa

Today is the 9th lunar day of Chinese New Year. Any Hokkien worth his salt (no pun intended...afterall, we Hokkien are known to be Kiam!!!) would observe today with much more importance than compared to Chap Goh Meh.

I went to my granma's place in Gombak yesterday night for the prayer. As everyone would know, Gombak Batu 3 till Batu 5 is infested by these Kiam Siap Hokkiens, with splattering of malay kampung in this area. Truly muhibbah.

At 11.45pm on the 8th lunar day, i reached my granma's house and already, fireworks, though illegal were already firing up in the sky. This is almost taunting the law, heck, it's making a mockery out of it!

Must have is the unmistakenly much needed sugar cane, which will be sold at a rip off price of RM8 per pair (Once a year only what....). Why sugarcane?

Legend has it that in days of yore, a foreign army invaded the Hokkien heartland. All the Hokkien soldiers fled into the fields and immediately a whole forest of sugar cane sprung up to hide the army and protect it from the enemy. This saved the Hokkien race and since then the Hokkiens have celebrated the ninth day of the Lunar New Year by placing stalks of sugar cane on either side of the front door. This is also the birthday of the Heavenly Jade Emperor.

Heavenly Jade Emperor? Dun pray pray, he is also so called feautred in hollywood! Read on here!

Anyway, as usual, without fail for the past many moons, my granma, like her forefather before her, has been celebrating this without fail, with exception of the years when my granpa passed away, which was 3 years.


more offerings

Back in the good ol days when fireworks and firecrackers weren't banned, the 3 houses of extended families at my granma's would have at least 100 feets of crackers burning and will take a good 20 minutes, at least to finish. We would hang rolls after rolls and the older uncle would join the fuses all up for continuity.

But since my family are all law abiding citizens, we've since ceased to do that when the ban came on. But i tell you, by the 5th minutes, everyone would had been almost deaf.

Granma leading the prayer

Everyone will get 3 joss stick and each will wish the Jade Emperor a happy birthday while also asking to be blessed with health, luck and prosperities for the year. Especially important for people with business! No two ways about it.

My granma has never fail not to have a roast pig on the table as offering. I'm talking about the whole big roast pig which takes up one table length. As this should be a halal blog, i'm leaving the pic of the piggy out, out of respect for it as well as it's their year anyway ;-)

Then, after the prayer, the paper offerings will be piled up and burnt. I know, some would say it's a waste of money, but who could question tradition? As usual, i am tasked to ensure that all offerings are properly burnt. That would involve me poking and playing with fire which is big. And fun.

playing with fire, you'll get burned

The rites conclude with the burning of the sugarcane leaves, which gives out crackling sound, which also imitiates the firecrackers. Then, it's feasting time as porridge would be cooked and the roast pork be chopped and given to relatives. Sharing is indeed caring. One roast pork could feed 3 extended family. So, imagine back in those days when celebrating this 9th Lunar Day involved 3 large roasted pig and 100 feet long firecrakers!

As i do not consume this prized meat as often, i left this out as it's already 2am and i got a marathon to run in 2 weeks. That is anohter issue altogether!

And while the whole celebration goes on, the fireworks around Gombak Batu 3 3/4 goes on....

This is even bigger waste of money

but nice!

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