Friday, February 15, 2008

Pai Ti Kong

Once upon a time, in China.. many many hundred years ago in a Province called Hokkien, was attacked by the pirates. It was than during the first day of the Chinese New Year.
The Hokkien clan have to seek for protection and hide themselves in order to avoid from being killed by the pirates. And the only place they could hide themselves was inside the sugarcane plantation.
For eight days and nights, the Hokkiens survived on sugarcane as food and the moon for the light during the night at the plantation.
And on the eighth day of the Chinese New Year, the pirates left without managing to harm the people there as no one was around. So on the early Ninth day, the Hokkien people came out of the sugarcane plantation and celebrate their Chinese New Year with lots of food and wearing new clothing for the young and old. Everyone was so happy as no one was harmed and the celebration was carried down to the next generation thereafter from years after years.
So on every eighth day of Chinese New Year, the Hokkien clan will offer prayers at their homes or temples just before midnight and to welcome the ninth day of Chinese New Year, praying facing towards the moon as a symbolic gesture of thanks for giving protection to their ancestors and making wishes for prosperity, good fortune, wealth and good health for the years to come for themselves and their children and their great great grand children..

Me as a Hokkien also carry out the practice and trying to teach our children not to break the rich culture inherited by our ancestors. As such, on the same day every year, we visit the temple at a place called "Kampung Cina" or Chinese village to offer prayers and wearing new clothing to welcome the Ninth Day of Chinese New Year. We call this occasion the "Pai Ti Kong" day in Hokkien dialect.
On the Morning of the Ninth day, we visited the temple again to offer prayers just at about 9.00 am.
I hope you enjoyed the story that was passed down from our ancestors to their great great grand children. There may be some other versions that you may have heard off, but somehow or other, the story gist may be quite the same. If you do have other version than this, please do share it with us by leaving a few lines at the comment column. We'll be glad to hear from you too.

To all Hokkiens and other Chinese,  Happy "Pai Ti Kong" day as today is the Ninth day of Chinese New Year...