Tuesday, February 16, 2016
The Birthday Of Heavenly Pa (天公诞)
The origin of the worship of heavenly pa is closely related to the history of the intrusion of Japanese ronin (浪人) against Chinese coastal provinces during Ming and Ching Dynasties (after 1500 AD).
At the end of one particular year, the ronin invaded Fujian (福建), other than those soldiers and civil defense forces that fight against the invading ronins; all villagers old and young ran into sugarcane field for refuge. They hid from the 1st day until the 9th day. When the military had finally defeated the ronins, everyone was allowed home to celebrate New Year.
In the remembrance of this survival history, the Fujian folks treated the 9th day of Lunar New Year as the ‘birthday of heavenly pa’ (天公诞) in the appreciation of protection bestowed by this heavenly pa.
Thus, during this day, sumptuous offerings of foods are prepared to worship the heavenly pa. A pair of sugarcanes is a must signifying the gratitude of protection bestowed by those sugarcanes.
In fact, there is a local saying that goes:
The heavenly pa birthday is more important than the New Year.
A typical Malaysian style of worship session:
Before 12 midnight all food stuffs offerings are set. And right on 12, incense and candles are lit and auspicious prayers recited.
A pair of sugarcanes with heavenly money (天公钱) is secured on both sides of main gate.
The heavenly pa's uniform (天公衣).
The heavenly pa's seat (天公座)
Finally, after obtaining permission; the items are burnt signifying the heavenly pa has received all.
Finally, firework display sealed the celebration.