Kitchen God prayer gets CNY going

Faithful: Yap praying and making offerings during the sending-off of the Kitchen God at her shop in China Street, George Town. — KT GOH/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Over the past few decades, septuagenarian Yap Wee Pin has been faithfully performing the ritual of sending off Zhao Jun (Kitchen God) annually without fail.

The 70-year-old coffee shop operator has been observing the prayers every year since learning the ritual from her father-in-law as a young woman.

At her shop here in China Street, Yap prepared a host of items such as thnee kuih (sticky glutinous rice cake or kuih bakul), red dates, longans and mandarin oranges at the altar of her shop.

“These are some humble offerings I prepare each year for the ritual.

“This is to thank the Kitchen God for the blessings and to pray for a good year ahead with good fortune.

“I am doing the prayers to ask for blessings this year as well, and for a smooth journey for my business, especially since I operate a coffee shop,” she said yesterday.

Yap said each year, one of the most important offerings that must be presented is the sticky cake.

“This is traditional and customary. Almost all who conduct this ritual would prepare this offering,” she said.

She said thnee kuih was a must during the annual send-off as the sweet glutinous rice cake is said to sweeten the deity’s mood and “seal” his lips to prevent him from making unfavourable reports.

The annual ritual is conducted on the 24th day of the 12th lunar month. According to Chinese belief, the Kitchen God reports on events in the household during the last year to the Jade Emperor when he ascends to heaven.

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