Friday, September 13, 2019

Teochew Nang: Praying to the Moon Goddess

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When I was a young child living in a kampong in Singapore, my mother used to pray to the moon on every Mid-Autumn festival. After our reunion dinner, the children would help to set up the table for the worship. Mom would steam some yams and prepare Chinese tea. On the table would be a variety of fruits, new stationery, new cosmetics and ..... mooncakes!

Offering prayers to the moon is a ritual for the women and the children, the men do not participate in it. They will sit around chit-chatting, sampling tea and eating mooncakes. What my brothers and I liked about this ritual was that we would get new stationery. My grandma hoped that using the stationery blessed by the Moon Goddess, the children would achieve better results.

My grandma and Mom would offer their newly purchased face-powder and fragrant water to the Moon Goddess. They believed using the blessed cosmetics would ensure they have beautiful, smooth skin. When my children were young, I carried on the tradition of praying to the Moon Goddess. I set up a table with simple offerings, just to show the kids what we Teochews do to celebrate Mid-Autumn festival. I offered my modern day cosmetics. I think to keep up with the times, I should offer a laptop or mobile phone or tablet the next time.

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