Sunday, November 27, 2005

Protection of the Land

As in many traditional Chinese shops around the world, in the Chinese shops in Chinatown, one could see the small altars at the back of the shop, in many cases, dedicated to Guan Gong, the red-faced General of the Three Kingdoms. And on the floor near to a wall, one could find a small altar dedicated to the Deities of the five directions and the local land. This is for the protection of the land and space where the shop is.

Some of these altars could be seen on the five-foot-way, as shown on the picture here. As in Taoist practice, the shopowners worship the Land Deities of the five directions for their help in protecting their shop, land, space and business. In offering, you could see give cups of tea, and sometimes, Chinese liquor and five joss-sticks are used. Fruits or offering of food are also put on the small altar.

Adjusting to the modern times, where there is more consciousness on cleanliness, small burning bins for joss papers are used. Here is a picture of a small red burning bin.

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