What follows below was taken from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Taiwan Culture (一看就懂台灣文化). If the title sounds familiar, it's because I introduced another book in the series, the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Conventional Industries last year. 以下的內容來自一看就懂台灣文化這本書. 如果你覺得書名似曾相識, 可能是因為我以前介紹過類似的書籍一看就懂台灣博覽.
The Chinese was written by Wang Song-shan, Li Kwang-ti, and Hong Li-wan. The English was written by me. 下列中文的部分是從王嵩山, 李匡悌, 洪麗完這三個作者的書裡節錄的. 英文的部分則是我寫的.
Below are excerpts from the 歲時節慶 section, or pages 86-95 in the book. 這一次的文章是出自"歲時節慶"單元來的, 自86到95頁.
1. 農曆春節 Chinese Lunar New Year
台灣節慶分為兩種: 農曆的民俗節日及國曆的紀念日. 農曆春節在鞭炮聲中展開, 象徵著一元復始, 萬象更新的意義: 年節中祭拜神明, 祖先, 還要敦親睦鄰, 充滿熱鬧, 喜慶的新氣氛. There are two types of Taiwanese holidays: the traditional holidays following the lunar calendar, and the memorial holidays following the solar (Western) calendar. Chinese New Year, which follows the lunar calendar, begins with the sound of fireworks, and signals a time of renewal. During this holiday people worship their gods and ancestors, and try to strengthen relationships with their neighbors. It is a lively time of year, and one full of celebration.
開正 "Opening the Door"
也叫 "開春," 是農曆正月初一, 要燃放鞭炮然後開廳門, 並且由長輩帶領燃香點燭敬神祭祖, 恭迎新年的到來, 為新年揭開序幕. 傳統習俗初一有許多禁忌, 如不可掃地或倒垃圾, 以免把財富掃出門外; 不可說壞話及吵架; 不可打破碗盤, 若不小心打碎了, 要趕緊說 "歲歲 (碎碎) 平安," 祈求化凶趨吉. This is also called "The Spring Opening," and falls upon the first day of the lunar new year. People light fireworks after opening the doors of their houses, and the older members of every family burn incense and candles for their ancestors and the gods. Through this ceremony the new year is welcomed in, and there are many customs regarding things you should not do. You cannot sweep the floor or throw away trash, because doing so might remove some of the good fortune you've received. You cannot use bad words or argue. You cannot break bowls or plates, and if you do so you should quickly say "Suei suei ping an" [peaceful year] to turn it into a blessing.1
賀正 Celebrating Good Fortune2
新年期間要互相拜年, 互道祝福, 並準備果盤甜品待客, 吃甜象徵富貴吉祥. 是傳統禮尚往來的習俗, 也叫 "拜正." People should pray for a fortunate new year together, and prepare a plate of fruits and candies for guests. Eating sweets is an auspicious activity, and can be counted among the new year traditions. It is also called "giving thanks."
拜公媽 "Praying to Grandparents"
大年初一, 拜祖先, 稱為 "拜公媽." Praying to ancestors during the first day of the lunar new year is also called "praying to [your] grandparents."
回娘家 Returning to the Wife's Side of the Family
初二回娘家探親, 娘家有幼童, 除了伴手禮還要贈送紅包. 若回娘家的女兒有小孩, 娘家要回送雞腿, 或用紅絨線繫古錢掛在小孩頸上, 象徵 "結綵帶" 添增喜氣. 中餐吃團圓飯, 敘舊, 約午後三點離開. During the second day of lunar new year, a wife "returns home" to visit her relatives. If she has children, she should present gifts and red envelopes, and her family should give her chicken legs, or use a red thread to tie an old coin around her children's necks. This signifies good fortune. They then eat a family dinner, reminisce about good times, and at around three o'clock in the afternoon the wife and her children leave.
遊春 The Spring Excursion
開正當天, 由長輩率領子女出遊, 到附近寺廟或名勝古跡遊覽, 稱為 "遊春." On the first day of the lunar new year, the older members of each family take their children for a walk to the nearest temple or monument. This is called "the spring excursion."
行春 The New Year'sTrip
新年期間男女老幼攜甜料, 水果, 金紙香燭等至寺廟燒香, 祈求一家平安. During the new year holiday, the older and younger members of every family take sweets, fruit, ghost money, candles, and other offerings to the temple, and pray for their family's well-being.
迎神 Welcoming the Spirits
農曆年前十二月二十四送神日後, 初四是迎神日. 灶君向玉皇大帝述職後, 再回到人間監督. On the 24th day of the 12th lunar month, people say farewell to the spirits, and then on the fourth day of the new year they welcome them back. Later Dzao Jun takes up his post as Jade Emperor, and resumes his watch over living people.
開市 The Market Opens
初五, 商人在這一天開張, 家家撤去祭祀供品, 有宴客親友和迎接財神的活動. On the fifth day of the lunar new year, businessmen reopen their businesses. Everyone prepares sacrificial offerings, and there are many activities for family, friends, or the gods of wealth.
拜天公 Worshiping the Lord of Heaven
年初九為玉皇大帝誕辰, 也是新春後的第一個大節日, 要製作紅龜粿, 發粿, 並準備牲禮, 焚香點燭祭拜 "天公," 以祈求家戶平安. The ninth day of the lunar new year is the Jade Emperor's birthday, and it's also the first big holiday after Chinese New Year.3 People need to prepare "red tortoise cakes," "fa gao cakes," and the "three offerings."4 They also need to burn incense and candles, and offer these for the Lord of Heaven's protection of their family.
2. 元宵燈節 Lantern Festival
元宵節是一個多采多姿的節日, 除了吃元宵祈求團圓外, 還有以民間故事為主題的燈展及猜燈謎, 表現出古人的智慧; 各式美輪美奐的花燈, 更發揮了多樣的民藝技巧. Lantern Festival is a very colorful holiday. Aside from eating a ceremonial family meal, there are also folk activities such as the lantern exhibition and the guessing of riddles, which represent the wisdom of the ancients. The multitude of magnificent lanterns also demonstrate the vitality of [Taiwanese] folk arts.
元宵節 Lantern Festival
農曆正月十五是元宵節, 又稱上元節, 民間會在清晨祭拜 "三界公" 中的天官大帝, 祈求賜福. 香案桌分上下桌, 上桌安置在兩條板凳上面, 供奉素菜, 香花, 水果; 下桌擺放牲禮, 年糕等葷菜. Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month. It is also called the "Shang Yuan Holiday." Very early in the morning, people pray to "Lord San Jie" and the gods of various celestial realms5 in order to receive their blessings. The table set out for offerings is divided into an upper and lower part. On the upper part are placed two benches, and on that part are placed vegetables, scented flowers, and fruit. On the lower part are placed the "three offerings," rice cakes, and meat dishes.
燈節 The Lantern Activity
元宵夜, 舊俗是家家張燈, 舉行燈會和提燈遊行, 每年正月十三至十五稱為 "迎燈;" 燈節前一天稱 "放燈," 連同最後一天的 "謝燈," 合稱為 "燈節." 著名的台南鹽水蜂炮, 新北平溪放天燈為元宵夜空添增燦爛色彩, 有 "南蜂炮, 北天燈" 之稱. The old custom during Lantern Festival was that every family would put up lanterns, then host a lantern party, and take part in a procession. The 13th to the 15th days of the first lunar month were referred to as "welcoming the lanterns." The first of these days was called "putting up the lanterns," the last of these days was called "thanking the lanterns," and together they were called "lantern festival." The famous "swarming of bees"6 in Yanshui, Tainan City, and the raising of lanterns in Pingxi add a lot of local color to Lantern Festival, so much so that people say "In the south there is the swarming of bees, and in the north the lanterns fill the sky."
平溪放天燈 The Flight of Lanterns in Pingxi
地處山區的平溪鄉舊時有山賊出沒, 當地村民歲末收成後, 便帶著細軟財產躲入深山, 直到元宵前夕才派壯丁返村查看, 確定安全後施放天燈, 通知村民可以回鄉. 流傳至今, 平溪鄉在每年元宵前夕舉行大型放天燈活動, 吸引許多遊客上山參加. A long time ago, there were bandits in the mountains around Pingxi Township, and after the yearly harvests locals took to hiding their goods deep in the mountains. On the day before lantern festival, they would send a strong young man out to check on the safety of their village, and once he decided the coast was clear, he would send a lantern up into the sky, telling the villagers that they could return from where they were hiding. From this practice comes the tradition of sending lanterns into the sky on the day before Lantern Festival every year, and this activity draws many tourists into the mountains [around Pingxi].
吃元宵 The Ceremonial [Lantern] Meal
元宵也稱為湯圓. 元宵夜闔家吃元宵, 意味著過年團圓, 重溫團圓的天倫之樂. Lantern Festival is also called "Soup Ball." On the night of Lantern Festival every family eats a "lantern dinner" together. This is done to celebrate their togetherness during the passing of a year, and to reaffirm family ties.
鹽水蜂炮 "The Swarming of Bees" in Yanshui
清代台南鹽水感染瘟疫, 死傷無數, 鎮民在正月十三關聖帝君誕辰日抬神轎出巡, 以繞境驅邪和除疫. 日後瘟疫漸漸弭平, 由於神轎所到之處就以燃放爆竹歡迎, 民眾相信炮竹可以驅除邪鬼, 燃爆竹儀式流傳至今, 並廣大舉行. During the Ching Dynasty there was a great plague in Yanshui, Tainan, and countless people died. On the 13th day of the first lunar month, the citizens of the municipality sought the protection of the god Guan Yu on his birthday, and held a "Rao Jing" activity7 to banish the evil spirits that caused the plague. After that day the plague slowly abated, and the people lit fireworks everywhere in thanks. People believe that fireworks can drive away evil spirits, and this lighting of fireworks has been passed down to the present time, where it has become a large activity.
新丁粄比賽 The "New Mold Competition"
台中東勢在農曆正月十五舉辦新丁板比賽, 為家中新添男丁而謝神求福, 也將大紅粄分享親友, 共沾喜氣. In Dong Shr, Taichung City, on the 15th day of the lunar new year, they host a "new mold competition." This is done in the hopes of bearing male children, and as a way of thanking the gods for everyone's prosperity. Red glutinous rice cakes are shared between friends and family in a festive atmosphere.8
3. 清明, 端午 Ching Ming Festival, Dragon Boat Festival
清明節承襲著尊重祖先, 重視宗族倫理的傳統觀念, 是慎終追遠的民族掃墓節. 端午節源自入夏驅邪的習俗, 更有健身, 節慶的賽龍舟活動. Ching Ming Festival represents a respect for one's ancestors, and reflects the importance of traditional values. It is from this hallowed tradition that Tomb Sweeping Festival comes. Dragon Boat Festival arises from the summer customs of banishing evil spirits, maintaining health, and the dragon boat race.
清明祭祖 The Worship of Ancestors During Ching Ming Festival
清明節大多在國曆四月五日前後舉行, 但是從農曆元宵節過後到清明節期間也有人選擇古日祭祖. 掃墓時, 會清理祖先墳幕, 供拜粿類, 糕餅. 祭拜後, 會將供品紅蛋的蛋穀剝撒在幕上, 以示新陳代謝, 送舊迎新之表徵. Most of Ching Ming Festival usually occurs before or after the 5th of March, but during the time between Lantern Festival and Ching Ming Festival many people choose to worship their ancestors on more traditional dates. On Tomb Sweeping Day, people clean family graves and make offerings of cakes or cookies. After they've made their offering, they will place the dyed red shells of eggs before the grave, as a way of representing thanks for "new" lodging, and the replacing of the old with the new.
掛紙 Hanging Paper
又稱 "壓紙," 是把祖先墳幕上的雜草木割除後, 以小石頭或草皮將長方形黃白幕紙, 或紅黃藍白黑的五色紙壓在墳上, 表示幕主有後嗣. 掛紙所用的五色紙就又稱為 "幕紙." This is also called "pressing paper," and is done after the grave has been cleared of plants that were growing on it. Rectangular yellow and white papers are fixed to the grave using rocks or dirt, or 5-color papers are pressed into the earth around the grave. This represents the owner of the grave having an heir. The 5-color paper hung upon the grave is also called "grave paper."
端午節 Dragon Boat Festival
時值夏季的農曆五月初五端午節, 古時是疾病開始流行的季節, 因此端午節的由來, 是有驅邪避惡, 以求身心平安的習俗意涵. In ancient times, it was with the onset of the summer months, around the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, that diseases began to spread. This is how Dragon Boat Festival came into existence - out of a desire to banish the evil spirits that cause sickness, and as a custom for ensuring the well being of both body and mind.
端午粽子 Dragon Boat "Rice Tamales"
端午節, 家家戶戶都會準備牲禮, 粽子, 拜神祭祖, 常見的粽子有肉粽, 鹼粽兩種, 肉粽用糯米包豬肉, 蝦米, 香菇, 芋頭, 蠔乾, 栗子等內餡蒸煮成; 鹼粽則是用糯米拌鹼油而煮熟. On Dragon Boat Festival, each household prepares the "three offerings" and rice tamales as offerings to both gods and ancestors. Commonly seen types of rice tamales include meat tamales and sweet tamales. The meat tamales combine glutinous rice and pork, shrimp, mushrooms, taro, dry oysters, chestnuts and other ingredients steamed together. The sweet type combine glutinous rice and a type of oil.
辟邪 Warding Off Evil Spirits
早年的台灣, 端午用布料包著檀香等香料做成香包, 配帶在小孩身上, 可以避邪. 另外, 用艾草, 榕樹枝, 菖蒲等懸掛於大門, 或是用艾草, 菖蒲等水洗浴, 或是潑灑雄黃酒於牆壁下, 都可去除毒蟲邪氣. From early on in Taiwan's history, incense and other herbs have been sown into a cloth to make a sachet for Dragon Boat Festival. Children wear these on their person, and they ward off evil spirits. In addition, wormwood, twigs from banyan trees, calamus, and other things are hung from gates. Wormwood, calamus and other ingredients are also used for washing, and a type of wine is also placed below walls to keep away insects and malign forces.
划龍舟 Rowing Dragon Boats
又稱賽龍舟, 競渡, 是端午節最受歡迎的活動. 起源於弔祭從前投入汨羅江詩人屈原; 而競渡的場所都在河流或海口, 台灣以高雄愛河, 台南安平運河和台北淡水河的龍舟比賽規模較大. This is also called racing dragon boats or simply racing. It is the most popular activity on Dragon Boat Festival. It originates with the poet Chu Yuan, who committed suicide by jumping into the Mi Luo River. The sites for the race are always rivers or ports, and the biggest races are held in Kaohsiung's Love River, the Yun River in An Ping, Tainan City, and the Danshui River in Taipei.
祭江, 謝江 Worshiping the River, Thanking the River
每年龍舟賽競渡開始前後, 由一艘龍舟在河面上焚香禱告, 並丟擲紙錢和粽子祈求神明保佑, 稱為祭江. 比賽結束後, 同樣焚香禱告, 燒化紙錢, 則稱為 "謝江." Every year, before and after the dragon boat races are conducted, a single dragon boat floats down the river, burning incense, offering prayers, and placing both ghost money and rice tamales into the water to ensure the gods' protection. This is called worshiping to the river. After the race is concluded the same ritual is repeated, and this is called "thanking the river."
4. 中元普渡 Ghost Festival
相傳農曆七月是鬼月, 這個月 "好兄弟" 會來到人間接受祭拜供品. 在古代, 農間在農曆七月十五以剛收成的新穀祭拜祖先, 佛教的盂蘭盆節, 道教的中元節也在這一天舉行, 由種種的由來融合成今日的 "中元普渡." The seventh month on the traditional lunar calendar is known as the ghost month. In this month the "good brothers" will come to everyone's house to receive offerings. In ancient times, people would make offerings to their ancestors after bringing in the harvest on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, and this day was also a Buddhist holiday honoring the dead. The Taoist Jung Yuan Festival was also held on this day, and many different influences combined to create the "Ghost Festival" we know today.
中元節 The Jung Yuan Festival9
農曆七月的主要活動動是普渡, 普渡的種類很多, 有街普, 市仔普, 子弟普, 廟普等, 以廟普最為盛大. 農曆七月十五中元節當天黃昏, 和尚, 法師依序進行開壇, 發關, 豎旛, 請神, 謝三界, 請觀音, 請孤魂, 安灶君, 拜幢, 戲供, 小施, 揚旛, 謝壇和誦經等超渡亡魂的儀式. The most important activity during the seventh lunar month is the "Pu Du." There are many kinds of Pu Du, and the largest are the Street Pu Du, the City Pu Du, the Children's Pu Du, and the Temple Pu Du. During the afternoon of the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, also know as Jung Yuan Festival, the monks and magicians prepare the altar, "open the door," pray to the heavens, thank Lord San Jie, entreat [the goddess] Kuanyin, invite the wandering spirits, notify [the god] Dzao Jun, give thanks for the scriptures, perform the "gong play" for the gods, play temple music, fly banners, and chant in order to prepare the spirits for their passage from the afterlife to the world of the living.
開鬼門 Opening the Door to the Spirits
俗稱農曆七月初一地府鬼門大開, 稱為 "好兄弟" 的孤魂野鬼會在陽間徘徊. On the first day of the seventh lunar month, it is customary to "open the door to the spirits," and the wandering ghosts referred to as the "good brothers" return to the earthly sphere.
拜門口 Praying to the Doorway
鬼門開後, 各家戶要在門口供拜魚, 肉, 雞, 鴨, 菜等五味碗和糕, 粿等; 在供物上各插上一枝香, 上完二柱香後, 燒經衣, 銀紙, 稱為 "拜門口." After the spirit door is closed, every family must place a 5-bowl offering of fish, pork, chicken, duck, vegetables and rice cakes before the door. Incense must be burned twice over the offerings, and after the second time clothes, coins, and paper money must be burned [over or near the offerings]. This is called "praying to the doorway."
關鬼門 Closing the Spirit Door
七月末日為關鬼門日, 也稱為 "謝燈腳." 從七月初一開始在陽間徘徊的孤魂必須回歸冥府. 寺廟會撤除燈篙, 舉行祭拜. The last day of the seventh month is the day on which the spirit door is closed. It is also called "giving thanks beneath the lanterns." From the first day of the seventh month the wandering spirits begin returning to the spirit world, and temples light lamps and hold services.
豎燈篙 The Raising of the Lanterns
農曆七月初一寺廟在廟前豎立帶枝葉的長竹竿, 上懸燈籠作為孤魂聚集的標誌, 就是豎燈篙. On the first day of the seventh lunar month, they hang sections of bamboo in front of temples, and lanterns are hung from these sections. This serves as a signpost for the returning wandering souls, and is referred to as the raising of the lanterns.
放水燈 Placing Lanterns Upon the Water
普渡前一天會以施放水燈方式, 為溺斃的孤魂照路. Lanterns are placed upon the water on the day before Pu Du. These lanterns help the spirits of drowned people find their way back.
搶孤 "Grabbing Up What the Ghosts Have Left Behind"10
中元普渡活動, 在超渡結束時, 會以鑼鼓為信號, 開放信眾搶奪孤棚上的祭品, 作為分享, 也帶來好運. After Ghost Festival has concluded, gongs and drums signal the end of the festival, and the offerings to the wandering spirits are placed upon a scaffold, and shared so that everyone can enjoy good fortune.
5. 中秋, 歲末 Mid-Autumn (Moon) Festival, The End of the Year
相傳中秋節源自於古代祭祀月神, 後來有吃月餅的習俗, 更增添了中秋節的節慶色彩. 農曆歲末有 "冬至," "除夕," "圍爐" 等. 都有除舊布新, 全家團圓等意義. Mid-Autumn Festival dates back to the ancient practice of making offerings to the god of the moon, which later became the custom of eating moon cakes, and this practice adds a lot of character to the holiday. At the end of the lunar calendar, there are Winter Solstice, "Chinese New Year Eve," the "Good Luck Dinner," and other traditions. All of these traditions celebrate renewal and family togetherness.
中秋節 Mid-Autumn Festival
農曆八月十五中秋節, 是 "太陰娘娘" 的聖誕, 晚上各戶吊燈結綵, 並在月下設香案, 供香花, 月餅, 水果等祭拜月神. 全家一起賞月, 吃月餅, 文旦以及小酌, 別有一番情趣. 另外, 中秋夜, 未婚男女會到廟中祭拜月下老人, 祈求獲得幸福, 美滿的姻緣. The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. It is the goddess Tai In's birthday. During the evening each family carries lanterns and burns incense beneath the moon, offering scented flowers, moon cakes, fruit, and other things to the moon god. The whole family enjoys the moon, eats moon cakes, pomeloes, and drinks. In addition, on Mid-Autumn Festival unmarried people go to the temple and make offerings to the Old Man Under the Moon, requesting a happy and fortunate marriage.11
團圓節 Reunion Day12
天下月圓象徵家人團圓美好的事務, 所以在中秋月圓時, 異鄉人都要回家和家人團圓, 所以中秋又稱為 "團圓節." The fullness of the moon resembles the fullness one finds in a family, so when the moon is full during Mid-Autumn Festival, families come together. For this reason Mid-Autumn Festival is also called "Reunion Day."
冬至 Winter Solstice
冬至, (國曆十二月二十一或二十二日) 民間稱為 "冬節," 全家大小一起搓 "冬節圓," 有紅白兩色. 冬至當天, 以冬節圓供拜神明祖先, 祭後以湯圓黏在門窗, 桌椅, 床櫃, 雞舍, 豬舍, 牛舍等處, 表達對一年來的謝恩, 祈求來年招福. Winter Solstice, which occurs on December 21st or 22nd, is popularly called "Winter Day." Everyone eats red and white "Winter's Day balls" [soup balls]. During the Winter Solstice people worship their gods and ancestors, and after doing so they stick soup balls on their doors and windows, on tables and chairs, on beds and in cabinets, in chicken coops, in pig pens, in cattle enclosures, and in other places. This represents their gratitude for the present year, and also signifies their desire for good fortune in the coming year.
尾牙 "The Weiya"13
農曆每月的初二, 十六為 "做牙," 十二月十六是每年的最後一次, 所以稱為 "尾牙." 農民及商人以五牲祭拜土地公. 公司行號宴請員工, 從前有藉此日告知辭退員工的習俗, 現在則是以年終聚餐或聯歡晚會來犒賞員工. The second and 16th days of every lunar month are referred to as the "dzuo ya," and the 16th day of the 12th lunar month is the last of these special days. For this reason it is called the "wei ["tail-end"] ya." On these days farmers and businessmen make the five sacrificial offerings to Tu Di Gong. Companies will treat present and former staff members to a dinner or party to show their appreciation.
送神 Sending Forth the Gods
農歷十二月二十四送神回天庭, 灶君是玉皇大帝派駐各家庭的大使, 每年要回天庭報告一年來的是非善惡', 大帝依據灶君的報告來決定各家下一年的禍福吉凶. On the 24th day of the 12 lunar month, the gods are welcomed back into heaven, and the Jade Emperor commands his ambassador Du Jun to visit every household and report on their doings. The report he brings back to the Jade Emperor is of pivotal importance to each family, and determines every family's fortunes for the next year.
辭年 Leaving the Year
農歷十二月三十除夕是一年的最後一天, 具感恩及團圓的重要意義. 除夕下午供拜牲禮, 祭拜祖先, 稱為 "辭年." 會在神明和公媽牌位前堆疊柑橋, 供奉年粿, 春飯和壓歲錢, 另外用五味碗拜門口和地基主, 用春飯祭拜灶神和床母. The 30th day of the 12th lunar month is the last day of the year, and is a time to express thanks and reunite with one's family. In the afternoon of the day before Chinese New Year, offerings to gods and ancestors are made, and this is called "Leaving the Year." Before their gods and ancestors memorial plaques people stack oranges, and place offerings of glutinous rice cakes, cooked rice, and lucky money. They also present the 5-bowl offering to the doors, the windows, and "the Lord of the Place." The cooked rice is also offered to Du Jun and "the Bed Mother."14
圍爐 "The Good Luck Dinner"15
除夕夜, 出外的遊子都要趕回家 "圍爐," 全家團圓吃年夜飯, 吃長年菜代表長壽; 韭菜代表長久; 菜頭即好彩頭; 魚圓, 肉圓, 蝦圓取意 "三元及第;" 魚代表 "年年有餘." 雞和台語 "家" 同音, 吃雞肉有 "食雞起家" 的意義. On the night before Chinese New Year, those who've moved away from their hometown must return for the "wei lu" ["good luck dinner"]. As the whole family eats together, a kind of cabbage ["chang nian"] symbolizes a long life, leeks ["jiou tsai"] symbolize a long time, and turnips ["tsai tou"] symbolize good luck. Fish balls, meatballs, and shrimp balls make up the "three treasures," with fish symbolizing a yearly surplus, chicken sounding like "family" [or "house"] in Taiwanese. Eating chicken also connotes "raising one's family through chickens."
守歲 "Keeping Your Age"
就是在除夕夜把一年守到最後一刻, 有依依不捨和迎接新年的意涵. 相傳孩子守歲, 父母可以延年益壽. The remaining moments of one's year occur during the last night of the lunar new year, and during this time the promise of the coming year is made known to all. Children grow a year older, and their parents are blessed with another year of life.
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Taipei from a Distance 遊客的台北
台灣民俗由來 The Origin of Taiwanese Customs (4 of 4)
台灣民俗由來 The Origin of Taiwanese Customs (3 of 4)
1. The word for "year" or "age" (歲) sounds like the word for "broken" (碎). "Ping an" (平安) means "peace" or "peaceful."
2. Translating this term is hard. The 賀 can be translated as "congratulate," and the 正 refers to the first month of the lunar new year. The same could be said of 拜正.
3. The holiday period commonly referred to as "Chinese New Year" extends from the last day of the previous lunar year, to the fifth day of the present lunar year.
4. The "three offerings" are usually chicken, pork, and fish. See "The Origin of Taiwanese Customs" (3 of 4)".
5. This "Lord San Jie" (三界公) part gets pretty heavy. I am vastly oversimplifying in my translation of this section, but explaining all of it would involve a whole lot of Taoism.
6. 蜂 means "bee," and 炮 means "fireworks." People shoot each other with fireworks, and it is like the swarming of bees.
7. The Rao Jing activity was discussed in "The Origins of Taiwanese Customs (1 of 4)" entry.
8. In this instance, a picture is really worth a thousand words. Look here. The molds used are wooden boards used to shape the cakes.
9. This section is even worse than that bit about "Lord San Jie." Rather than drowning in a sea of Taoist terminology, I've left some of this vague.
10. There's really no good way to translate this term into English.
11. The Old Man Under the Moon was discussed in "The Origins of Taiwanese Customs (2 of 4)" entry.
12. You could just as easily call this "Family Day."
13. Also discussed in "The Origins of Taiwanese Customs (1 of 4)" entry.
14. A lot of this section was also discussed in "The Origins of Taiwanese Customs (4 of 4)" entry.
15. Many of the food items discussed are homonyms for beneficial things, and thus connote good luck. That phrase at the end, "食雞起家." further plays upon the similarity between "chicken" in Chinese and "family/home" in Taiwanese. The "raising" there is more like "raising up."