Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Kitchen God goes to Heaven 2.2.2016 or 24thday 12moon Lunar Calendar.

Today is the 24th day of the 12 month in the lunar calendar.  It is also the Festival of the Kitchen god (Kitchen God goes to heaven to give a report on the household)
In 2010, when my FIL was still around, it was done in an elaborate style:

Today, the offerings are less and more simple, according to my SIL, and because this is such a unique festival and because it is still being practised in my household, I specially made a trip to our "ancestral home" to document it!!! Here are the pics:...

 When I went there, all the cooking was already done by the maid, and SIL was in the garden, burning joss paper.

 These are the 2 types of joss paper that she bought for burning.

 I took selfie of Big sis in law (we call her Tai Koo) and the maid making the fire offerings.
 There was also some offering on a little table at the front of the sitting room next to the sliding door grill.
 oranges, a slab of meat, tea leaves and joss stick
 Then I went in to the altar room which is also the ancestral hall to show you the things offered for prayers.
 3 pak cham kai or boiled chicken with head and tail intact
 3 fried pomfrets
 vermicelli for vegetarian grandmother
 deep fried tofu
 deep fried peanuts
 deep fried beancurd skin
 stewed mushrooms
 char siew of red roasted lean pork 
 In 2010 I wrote that I would not be able to continue this festival, well, maybe I will, and documenting the events today seem to be a good start!
 Tai Koo says she has left out a lot of things and kept it simple this year, if you look at the 2010 post, you will see that FIL has included a lot of other food and fruits. 
She has finished praying and she is taking out all the food.

How things have changed.  The table would have been full, and the rest of the family would be here later in the night to have dinner together to feast on the boiled chicken, pork, fish and tofu.  But, today, Tai Koo will just pack them all up in three portions, one for her family, one for the 2nd Brother's family and one for my family, the youngest brother's, because these are the extended families in Kuala Lumpur. 

To give you some background info on this festival:
 On the 24, the kitchen god, who has his own altar in the kitchen at the back of the stove (we do have one too..can you see the altar on the wall in the pic below?) 
will ascend to heaven to give a report on the household.  Since he is in the kitchen the whole year through and the kitchen is the focal point of family, he is in a position to do so.  to ensure that the God says only "sweet things" about the family, Hokklens in Penang give offerings of sweets and tnee kueh (sticky rice cake) which will stick his mouth together so that he cannot utter a single bad word against the family!

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