Thursday, February 17, 2005

Ninth Day of CNY

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usEvery Chinese in the world know what it is. Glistening, shiny, but made of pulpwood. At some point in their lives, most of the Chinese must have folded one or burned one themselves, in one of their major cultural and religious events. Just list out the major events - Chinese New Year, the ninth Day of Chinese New Year, Hungry Ghost Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Cheng Beng etc; see, there are virtually no chinese events that can be done without these little joss paper. Folded into the shapes of gold blocks, for thousands of years it held the belief of the oriental folks that it would carry their sincerity to invoke the deities for the sake of prosperous and smooth well-being in their business, life and health. It has been an embedded cultural mark of the Chinese.

Today, we celebrate the ninth day of Chinese New Year, which is also known as the "Jade Emperor's Birthday". It was believed that the Jade Emperor, the highest authority in Chinese traditional belief was born in the ninth day of the first month in the lunar Calendar. For some reason, it has also been said that the Jade Emperor saved the Hokkien ethnic's lives on the ninth day of CNY a ~long, long~ time ago. Therefore, today it has so evolved that Hokkien would celebrate the ninth day of the first month as "the other New Year". It was a norm for Hokkien to invoke to the Jade Emperor on this day because it was believed that it would have been the most efficacious.

Well, as Alvin said,

Man, this event is even more significant and celebrative that the highly-commercialised V-Day here.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usHaha, Alvin, nice summary ya! True only for single folks, okay? It all started the night before the ninth day at 11 something. Well, mother painstakingly prepared all the standard "altar materials" as shown on the left. There were candles, a tableful of fruits and some small portion of siow bak (roasted pork). Gee, for some Chinese it's a full pig lying on the table, lucky we don't do the same! It's so disgusting man...

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhile parents worked out their way on the altar, children around the residential area had their once-in-a-year to join the fIrew00rK fEStiVal!! Mind you it's not an exaggeration, the whole nightsky was lit by these illegally smuggled fireworks, size of which can match those displayed in the Times Square! Well, you can laugh at me for being nerdy again, but guess what I'm doing all the time? Yup, friends you would know right. I am busy turning the dials, pressing the buttons and shutters for the best shot. Hehe... So here is it.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWell, when it's time to go back to business, we go back to business. As the grandfather clock strikes 12, it's the time for us to start the prayer. Clasping the three skinny joss sticks with my fingers, I prayed for the best for myself and for my most beloved ones. I hope that wherever they go and whatever they do, they will always be with the blessed luck in accordance to their karma. It's my fervent wish that no matter what happens, let them have the courage and the faith to brave through it and reemerge with refreshed vigor. I prayed hard and sincerely. No kidding, you know my dog, having not the least idea what's happening tried to tickle me. Hehe, I tried so hard to put up a straight face... See that straight face and my straight face? Hahaa...

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAfter the prayers, it's time for the "gold foil" to do what they are destined for - dance in the flames! Gold blocks, "Emperor's hat" and all other innovative shapes, they all terminate in flames and ashes. Year after year, the Emperor God's Birthday has always been the same for Hokkien around the world. The firecrackers bang on, and the fireworks still evade the ever watchful enforcer's eyes. Culture, unsatiated wishes,and more... I believe it will always be the same, and by the time I am 60 it will still be. There's no theory or reasoning behind it, just an anchored belief.

So now, you think that I am a taoist? (or folk religion to be more accurate) I am constantly questioning faith, if that's what you would like to think.


Anonymous said...

hey bro,
instead of praying for urself,
u prayed for ur beloved ones...
selfless man....
jane goh should b extremely happy on seeing this....the virtues of 'hotmat kepada orang yang lebih tua' n 'hormat dan taat kepada ibu bapa' hv been put in pratice...which means that our Pmoral is not a total failure.
but did you?
should she?