Seek and Ye Shall Find.

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there lived a clan of Fujian people whom were attacked by pirates on the first day of their Lunar New Year. Desperate for safety, the clan hid themselves in a sugarcane plantation. And for eight days, they  survived on sugarcane as food and the moon as light during the nights, unfound by their attackers.

On the eight night, the pirates left, and the people could finally come out to celebrate and rejoice their New Year.

Incidentally, the ninth day of the Lunar New Year was the birthday of the Jade Emperor or the Emperor of Heavens. So to celebrate, the people offered sugarcane, or gam jia in the Fujian dialect which coincidentally sounds close to gam sia which means ‘thank you’, as thanks for his heavenly birth and protection.

In the Fujian, or should I say the Hokkien dialect, we call this Pai Ti Kong. And so it was passed down from generation to generation and now we do it every year on the eight night of the Lunar New Year come midnight, offering all sorts of the customary delicacies and decorations and incenses, making wishes for prosperity and good fortune and wealth and good health for the year ahead.

19 years and after finally asking why, I’m somewhat marveled by this small tale. Makes me wish I had asked more ‘why’s’ when I was younger. Hmm..

“Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.”
Francis Bacon.


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