SIBU: About 10,000 worshippers thronged Tua Pek Kong Temple at the waterfront since the eve of mid-autumn festival to make thanksgiving offering for the blessings they received.
Temple chairman Penghulu Soon Choon Hoo, who led his committee in the offering, regarded the festive celebration a double-happiness event.
While the worshippers offered thanksgiving for bountiful harvest, he said the temple also gave out rice as a blessing for happiness, prosperity and health.
“This cultural significance has been handed down from our ancient farming community. In the olden days, the people celebrated spring as a planting season in the Chinese New Year; and by mid-autumn, they were wrapping up with a bountiful harvest.”
He said the cultural practice was handed down to the new generations by their forefathers when settling in South East Asia.
“Until today, the Chinese in Malaysia still celebrate the cultural significance of the festival in elaborate colours. They not only make thanksgiving offerings, they also paint the festival colourful by hanging up lanterns in the full-moon night.”
Soon said they gave out more than 150 kg of rice yesterday.
“It is for them to cook and consume for another year of bountiful harvest.”
He said even though the worshippers might not be farmers and regardless of their occupations, mid-autumn would be a time of harvest and paying back for the blessings they received.
He said the rice given out by the temple was donated by the worshippers themselves.
“Then, we re-pack it into smaller bags to give out to those who come for blessings.”
He said although each family might bring back only a small bag, it would be sufficient to last a whole year because it had been blessed.
“What the worshippers do is, they will mix this small bag of rice with their own rice at home, and they will cook it throughout the year.
In this way, they will be blessed the whole year.”
Soon said the temple also hosted cultural ceremonies for business investment and longevity turtle-shaped buns.
“Businessmen might each take home only RM1 from the temple but they will add it to their investment.”
For the turtle buns, he said the worshippers would eat them for good health and longevity.
“When the next harvest comes, these people who have been blessed will return to pay back the rice, the money and the buns. We, again, re-pack to give them out.”
He said this cycle of blessing has been going on year after year.
Soon said they lighted up 1,200 lanterns last night.
“The festival climaxed with cultural performances on Yunhu Stage next to our temple.”
Soon said the mid-autumn full moon signified completeness in blessings and family reunion.