Tonight at 12.00 midnight, the Hokkiens will be praying to Jade Emperor. Temporary altar will be placed in front of the house on which are put sweeties and fruits not forgetting two plants of sugar cane which will be tied to each side of the altar.
There is a story behind the use of sugarcane here. Long time ago, the Hokkiens in China were chased by their enemies. They kept running until they came to a sugarcane plantation. Without a second thought, they hid among the leaves of the plants. The enemies simply passed the plants and continued their pursuit to the front. Thus the Hokkiens were saved from being killed by the enemies with the help of the sugarcane plants. To show gratitude to this plants, they included thm in their prayer to the Jade Emperor.
To mark the start of the ninth day of Chinese New Year when the praying starts, firecrackers will be burnt to add merriness to the occasion. In Malaysia, we are so used to the sound of firecrackers every year on this very night. The din will last for about five minutes.
Happy praying to the Jade Emperor tonight to the Chinese Hokkiens.
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