Friday, 8 February 2008

Lunar Year Customs – 5th Day of Lunar New Year (農曆正月習俗之初五接財神)

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Fifth Day of Lunar New Year, known as Niu Day (牛日) aka Day of Cow. This is to keep in memory that on this Day, the Universe created Cow.

And so, for some folks, on this Day, they will not consume any cow meat or any items that are associated with Cow.

Besides that, in Hokkien Custom, 5th Day is also known as Ge Kai Ri (隔開日), translated as Day of Retrieving or Removal of Offering Items from the Altars. After a few days of making offerings to the Deities & Ancestors, the offering items shall be in a Very good condition by the 5th Day. Only after the 4th Day, then such offerings can be retrieved or removed from the Altars. This is a form of respect to the Deities & Ancestors and also a form of cultivation of knowing the rules & regulations of making offerings.

Some people after retrieving or removing of the items from the Altars, they will prepare another new set of simple offerings to be offered to the Deities & Ancestors, cos its still the Lunar New Year period, the Altars shall not be left empty, etc.

After 5th Day, most of the people will need to report back to work and those who operate businesses will have to resume their operations, trading, transactions, etc.

Just before people report back for work or resume their operations, some people will tend to go to Temples that are being dedicated to Deity of Wealth to request for blessing of Wealth Luck. Why? Cos on the 5th Day, in Taoist Culture, this is the Birthday or Anniversary for the Deities of different forms of Wealth (財神誕).

In Chinese Custom, the 5th Day is also known as Cai Shen Ri (財神日) aka Day of Deity of Wealth. By looking at the term, one self will know that this is a Day or a Solely Day that is dedicated to All Deities that associated with Wealth, Money, Fortune, Prosperity, etc.

And so, this is the Actual & Correct Day to do the Welcoming & Ushering in of Deity of Wealth instead of performing the Ceremony or Ritual on the Eve of Lunar New Year (on the Eve of Lunar New Year, the Deities that one self shall invite or usher shall be Fu Lu Shou Star Lords 福祿壽三星).

So what are the things that one self shall prepared?

As being intro in the previous posting, the following items are to be prepared for the Welcoming or Ushering in of the Deities of Wealth:

1 – Nian Gao (年糕)
2 – 1 set of 5 Oranges (五顆桔子)
3 – 1 Pineapple (黃梨)
4 – 1 set of 5 Apples (五顆蘋果)
5 – 1 set of 5 Chinese Pears (五顆香梨)
6 – 1 Bunch of Bananas (一串香蕉)
7 – 6 sets of Traditional Cookies (六甜)
8 – 6 sets of Vegetarain Items (六素)
9 – 3 cups of Wine (三杯米酒)
10 – 3 cups of Tea (三杯清茶)
11 – Huat Kueh (發糕)
12 – Some flowers (5 colours 五色花)
13 – Paper-offerings, a type of Paper-offerings that are dedicated to Deity of Wealth, can get in any Incense-shops (財神紙料)
14 – Some people will prepare the cooked-stuffs such as chicken, roast pig (三牲禮).

Once ready, the Altar shall be set up in front of the Home or any Business-operating Area (due to this Day is dedicated to Deity of Wealth, no specific direction is needed for the Altar to face or be placed at, do not get tricked or cheated by those un-realistic-remarks made).

Place the Urn at the front of the Altar, 2 Red-candles standing at the side of the Urn, place the 5 types of Fruits in front of the Urn, follow by Huat Kueh, Nian Gao, 6 Candies & 6 Vege-items.

The flowers can be placed in the center.

Then the Tea & Wine are too be served.

After all the preparation and setting-up is done. The one who wished to request for the blessing of Wealth shall lead the Honouring. Light the incenses, sincerely kneel down in front of the Altar, do simple report on the name, address of the place, what day is today and why such offerings are being made, after the reporting, one self can do the requesting.

After requesting, sincerely place the incenses into the Urn and then leave the place.

After about 15 minutes, return back to burn-off the incense-paper. Remember not to burn the Deity of Wealth Picture that comes with the Paper-offerings. The picture is mend for one self to paste it on the Main Altar or anywhere that one self feel comfortable with.

Only remove the picture when its time to do the send-off.

So when to send off the Picture of Deity of Wealth?

Usually this will be done on the Day while the family send-off the Kitchen Deity, which means the 24th Day of Lunar 12 Month (農曆十二月二十四日).

Due to Folks Culture, some will do it before Dong Zhi aka Winter Solstice (冬至).

On the day of the sending-off, simple offerings must be prepared. 3 sets of Tian Gong incense-paper (天公金 the big size one), 3 sets of Shou Jin incense-paper (壽金 the normal size one), a set of Gui Ren incense-paper (貴人紙 the red-color paper-offering will a lot of Officer-figurines being printed) and some Sending-off Jia Ma (送神甲馬 Horse offering-paper).

After the preparation, make a short report to Deity of Wealth that the New Year is coming, the family will be making invitation for another New Deity of Wealth (take note that, Deity of Wealth will also changed accordingly to the Element of the Lunar Year, not necessary for a same Deity of Wealth to stay on duty for a few constant years) in for the New Year and will sincerely invite the current Deity of Wealth back to the Heaven, thank him for the blessing of the Year.

Once the report is being made, one self can take down the Picture and then together, bring the incense-papers and burn them off.


4 comments:

  1. Shi Fu, is this papaer is 財神紙料 ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Can said so. You can use this to replace the normal Cai Shen Zhi Liao.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Shifu, if one is on a budget, can I just buy what I can? If it's too expensive to buy all the offerings, can I just limit it to a few items?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, of cos can. As long as you are sincere, it counts.

    ReplyDelete