Monday, February 15, 2016

9th day of the Chinese New Year

Sugar cane is a cash crop of the Kong Family.  My uncle Kong Seng Shui is more than 80 years old. He leads a very healthy live style. He plants the sugar cane, and employs contract workers to do the harvesting.

This is a photo of me when I was 14. The background is a clump of sugar cane. The Chans and Kongs always have sugar cane growing. They are our snack. We didn't have much lollies. We didn't crush them into juice. We cut up foot long canes, trip off the peel, and we chewed the stems. Good for our teeth too.

For the Hokkiens/Fujian people of Southern China, the 9th day of the new Year is celebrated as a more important day than the 1st. Preparation begins on the 8th for the big feast on the 9th.

Accordingly, robbers invaded the people, and they hid in the sugar cane fields. They believe that the Jade Emperor, the King of heavens protected them. Some say the sugar cane were "cutty cutty" and the robbers didn't bother to look in the sugar cane field.

Every year, on the 8th evening, the Hokkiens will adorn the entrance of their house with a pair of sugar cane. The sugar cane is a symbol of of how they were saved from the invasion.

When I first went to Singapore more than 20 years ago, I was unaware of this festival, and wanted to buy pig's leg. The butcher told me none was available because the Hokkiens have bought it all.

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