In Taoist Culture, every year during the Lunar 6 Month, the Taoist or Chinese will celebrate this important Festival on the 6th Day of Lunar 6 Month (農曆六月初六日為天貺日﹐初七為天門開日).
For Year 2014, Tian Kuang Day falls on 02 July, a Wednesday.
Tian Men Kai aka Opening of Heavenly Gate falls on 03 July, a Thursday.
天貺日詳細介紹 The Introduction on Tian Kuang Day:
Tian Kuang Ri (天貺日), in Taoism, known as the Day of Jade Emperor of Heaven distribution Blessing for ALL Beings & also, the 2nd Inspection Day for All High Authority Deities of the Three Realms (在道教文化中﹐天貺日被譽為玉皇赦罪大天尊﹐開赦天下之日﹐也是上天貺福民間之時。不但如此﹐也是三界高真第二次校考天下之朝). In Chinese Culture, this Day is also known as Half Year Festival aka Ban Nian Jie (半年節).
Whereas, Tian Men Kai is the Day for the Deities to return back to the Celestial Palace for the Reporting & Submitting of the Inspection Result (而天門開日則是三界高真回返通明殿繳旨之日).
In South East Asia, due to the mis-interpretation and misconception, the Opening of Heavenly Gate is celebrated on the 7th Day of Lunar 6 Month, which is not that Official & Accurate. Recent Years, due to Commercialization, many Folks are using this Opportunity to make Money by holding Un-necessary Events & Blessing Ceremonies, which somehow contribute to Degrading & Distorting of the Culture of Tian Kuang Ri.
According to Chinese History, the Celebration of Tian Kuang Ri was only being fixed after Song Dynasty (this is a Day that being Bestowed by Song Emperor Zhen Zong 宋真宗祥符四年 on AD 1011, before AD 1011, Tian Kuang Ri is usually being celebrated on the 1st Day or 15th Day of Lunar 6 Month).
So does Really the Heavenly Gate opened on this Day?
This is just a Myth that the folks believed in, to be more exact, Heavenly Gate does not have the process of Opening or Closing.
In Taoist Context, the "Heavenly Gate" or so-called the Entrance to the Heavenly/Spiritual Realm is located at the Eastern Hemisphere, in between the 2 Stars in the Green Dragon Formation (東方青龍角宿二星) - in Western Astrology, these 2 Stars are located in Spica Formation (室女α星). And this is why, during Tian Kuang Ri, when Taoist Priests performed the Sending of Spiritual Petition to the Heavenly Realm, the Taoist Priests will have to step the Dipper-steps towards the Eastern Direction and then conduct the Burning-off the Spiritual Petition facing the East (天貺日﹐道士送表時須面向東方之位).
In most of the Chinese Myths, Heavenly Gate always being illustrated in the Southern Hemisphere (南天門), which is not Accurate.
So what is the actual meaning of this Tian Kuang Ri aka Tian Men Kai?
According to records and the Objective that being fixed by the Song Empire, actually Tian Kuang Ri is a Day for the Taoists to pay respect to the Heaven and other Deities and also, for Jade Emperor of Heaven (玉皇大天尊) to send his Officials to the Mortal Realm to distribute out the necessary Blessing to the Living Beings according to their Credits and Merits accumulated thru-out the past 6 Months (another Day of such Events will be on the 25th Day of Lunar 12 Month).
Due to this Tian Kuang Ri belief, this is why in our Taoist or Chinese Society, in the Spiritual Theory, we have a Theory of Luck will only changed after every 6 Lunar Months.
Tian Kuang Ri has another meaning of, Heaven gives out the Necessary Gifts/Rewards to the Necessary groups of Beings, such as Sick, Poor, Cultivated People or "Badies (its time for them to Receive the Rewards of what they have Accumulated)".
So how will the Taoists or Chinese Celebrates this Day?
For Taoists, we will visit Temples to pay Respect to Heaven & Jade Emperor of Heaven and then, do certain Chanting or Reciting of Scriptures or Incantations.
For Chinese, they will visit Temples to do requesting of Lucks and also, to do reprimanding of one self Debts, Sins and Evil-doing, once the Reprimanding is done, then they will do another round of Luck-requesting.
For those whose Requests being fulfilled within the 6 Months, they will need to return to the Temple to show their Gratitude to the Heaven or Deities before 25th Day of Lunar 12 Month.
For the Folks, on this Day, they will bring out their Clothing, Paintings, Books or some Valuable-stuffs to do Sun-bathing. Why they do so? Folks believed that by doing the Sun-bathing, the Objects will be blessed by Heaven and all these Objects will be able to last longer (天貺日也被稱為”晒經日”。這天﹐習道者會將經文﹐道袍﹐置于烈日下曝晒).
In the Early Days (in Singapore), Old people who had bought their Shou Yi (壽衣 the Apparel for their Funeral) to keep, on this Day, they would bring out one piece (out of the 7 Layers) to do Sun-bathing. Why they do so? The Old people believed that by doing so, their Age-span would be prolonged by 1-3 years. If they didn’t do that, meaning that on that year, it might be their Last Year staying in this Mortal Realm (民間則在這天﹐將老年者準備的壽衣﹐取一件出來曝晒).
Besides the Sun-bathing for the Items, Taoists will also do Copying of Taoist Scriptures (天貺日抄經也是必然的功課之一) at Home. This is the time that Taoists show their Respect & Gratitude to the Big Dao.
On this Day, Taoists & Chinese will use Glutinous Rice Powder (Red, White is Forbidden for this Day) to make Sweet Dumplings aka Tang Yuan (在天貺日所準備的湯圓不可有紅或白). Consuming of Tang Yuan on this Day is to request for Blessing on Reunion & also for Ushering in New Hopes for the Next 6 Months.
So how can one self Celebrates this Day in this Modern Society?
Its very simple, just get some simple Offerings (as followed) to any Temple. Sincerely pay your respect and I’m sure your Request will be heard by the Heaven.
天貺日所需供品 Here the offerings go:
1) 1 set of 3 Long Incenses (長壽香一副)
2) 1 pair of Red Candles (紅燭一對)
3) 1 set of Fruits (5 Quantity 生果五顆)
4) 1 set of Loose Flowers (鮮花一盤)
5) 1 or 3 set(s) of Tian Gong Jin (Big Josspaper 天公/太極金三疊)
6) 1 or 3 set(s) of Shou Jin (Normal Josspaper 大壽/三寶金三疊)
Upon reaching the Temple, place All the offerings on the Main Altar or at the Jade Emperors Altar, then proceed to the Whole Temple to pay respect to the Other Deities and then return to the Altar where you placed the Offerings, sincerely make a Bow and then Kneel down on the Kneeling-pad and start your Requesting:
1) Start with the Offering of Incense Incantation:
祝香神咒 (Incenses Offering Incantation)
道由心學。心假香傳。Dao You Xin Xue, Xin Jia Xiang Chuan
香爇玉爐。心存帝前。Xiang Re Yu Lu, Xin Cun Di Qian
真靈下盼。仙旆臨軒。Zhen Ling Xia Pan, Xian Pei Lin Xuan
令民關告。逕達九天.。Ling Min Guan Gao, Jing Da Jiu Tian (Bow 鞠躬)
Then Recite Yu Huang Da Tian Zun's Praise Incantation (玉皇大天尊寶誥)
太上彌羅無上天。妙有玄真境。Tai Shang Mi Luo Wu Shang Tian. Miao You Xuan Zhen Jing
渺渺紫金阙。太微玉清宮。Miao Miao Zi Jin Que. Tai Wei Yu Qing Gong
無極無上聖。廓落法光明。Wu Ji Wu Shang Sheng. Kuo Luo Fa Guang Ming
寂寂浩無宗。玄範總十方。Ji Ji Hao Wu Zong. Xuan Fan Zong Shi Fang
湛寂真常道。恢漠大神通。Zhan Ji Zhen Chang Dao. Hui Mo Da Shen Tong
玉皇大天尊。玄穹高上帝。Yu Huang Da Tian Zun. Xuan Qiong Gao Shang Di (Bow 鞠躬)
2) Report your name and where you stayed
3) Report what is the event Today
4) Report what is your Request (remember to request for those that is possible to fulfill)
5) Once the report is done, sincerely make 3 Bows and then stand-up and place your Incenses into the Urn
6) Make a Bow and leave the Spot
7) After 10 - 15 Minutes, retrieve the Incense-papers and proceed to do the Sending-off
8) Once the Burning is done, retrieve the Offerings and then leave the Temple
Remember, once the Request is being fulfilled within the 6 Months, please return to the Temple again to show your Gratitude.
More info on Tian Kuang Day (天貺日多知一點點):
Official Offerings for Tian Kuang Day (天貺日上敬蒼天供品簡介):
Official Offerings for Tian Kuang Day (天貺日上敬蒼天供品簡介):
Tian Kuang Zither of Tang Dynasty (唐代天貺琴簡介):
The Eight Predictions (天貺日之八大預言說):
Temples to visit in Singapore for Tian Kuang Ri:
1) Telok Blangah Tian Gong Temple (新加坡天公廟), located at Telok Blangah Drive, besides Blk 45
2) Yu Huang Dian (玉皇殿), located at Havelock Road
3) Hai Nan Shan Tian Gong Tan (海南山天公壇), located at Upper Thomson Road