In case you have no idea how to read that 3 Chinese characters in the title but clicked on the article anyway just because you wanna huat this Lunar New Year— 财神爷 means the God of Fortune!
You know, the jolly-looking uncle in red who’s always seen with a ton of golden ingots and jewellery, like the one below:
Now, we all know that the God of Fortune is supposed to help us huat, but how much do you actually know about him?
As such, here are 10 things（Huat ah!) about the God of Fortune to make sure you won’t forget to do anything that will help you huat this Lunar New Year!
1) 迎财神 Welcoming the God of Fortune
Now, we all know that we have to visit our relatives during the Lunar New Year(three cheers for Ang Paos!), but did you know that you’re supposed to celebrate the God of Fortune’s birthday on the 5th day of the Lunar New Year?
2) Offerings for the God of Fortune
Now that you know about the birthday of the God of Fortune—what are you supposed to do? Here’s a quick guide for those of you who are interested!
Oh and, before that, a quick disclaimer. From what we understand, different families have different ways of welcoming the God of Fortune! So there’s actually no “correct” or “incorrect” way to do so!
For more information, do check out this website here, I find their step-by-step guide to be really useful for beginners!
3) Who is the God of Fortune?
I believe some of you would actually be curious. Just who is the God of Fortune? Is he but a story or someone who once existed?
Actually, the God of Fortune is not a he— the God of fortune should be a “they”! The God of Fortune has been identified with many historical figures, like Zhao Gong Ming and Bi gan! The most commonly accepted one would be that of Zhao Gong Ming.
If you’re familiar with the novel Feng Shen Bang（封神榜）, then he should be no stranger to you. Zhao was appointed to be in charge of the business of gold, silver, and jewellery. Hence, people started associating money with Zhao—causing him to eventually become the God of Fortune.
4) Different God of Fortune for different age group
As I’ve mentioned before, the God of Fortune has been identified with many historical figures. Some people even stared worshipping every single one of these figures!
As such, it’s believed that people of different age group should worship different God of Fortunes!
For those below the age of 30, you can consider praying to Gods of Fortune like Bai Gui and Guan Zhong.
Those after the age of 30 can consider Zhao Gong Ming and Bi Gan, and those after 60 can consider praying to Wang Hai.
5) The popularity of the God of Fortune
Did you know that many people still pray to the God of Fortune—even though you may have no idea who he was before this?
For example, this scene at a temple in China some years back:
(Holy Caishen, would you look at that crowd!)
According to a report, approximately 550,000 went to a temple to offer up their prayers to the God of Fortune!
Yikes, even I wouldn’t go that far just to wish for good fortune!
6) God of Fortune in other cultures
Did you know that the concept of the God of Fortune isn’t unique to Chinese culture? Apparently, similar Gods of wealth and fortune are present across many cultures too. Take for example:
Of course, the list isn’t exhaustive! There are bound to be a lot more Gods of Fortune out there!
…Hmm, ever consider praying to all of them?
7) Where should I go if I want to pray to the God of Fortune?
You can always go to the Sembawang God of Wealth Temple if you would like to bask in the glory of the God of Fortune. Oh and, God of Wealth and God of Fortune are pretty much the same thing! They just have different names because, well, translation woes!
Be sure to prepare yourselves if you plan to go the 5th day of the Lunar New Year! I’ve never been there before, but I have a feeling it’s going to be incredibly packed!
8) Worshipping the God of Fortune
Too lazy to go to the temple to pray during the Lunar New Year period? Well, you’re not alone. Some people simply buy a statue of the God of Fortune and worships him on an altar at home.
Be it out of devotion or laziness, do you know that you can’t place the statue anywhere you want? There are rules regarding the placement of the God of Fortune—and boy is it a long list.
Here’s a quick rundown of some the things you should and shouldn’t do!
- Pick an auspicious location for the statue (If unsure, get yourselves a Feng Shui Master)
- Depending on the type of God of Fortune, you have to be wary of where they face. 武财神(Wu Cai Shen)like Guan Yu has to face the door, looking out of the house. 文财神(Wen Cai Shen) like Fu Lu Shou will be required to face inwards.
- The place where you worship them must be neat and tidy at all times
- It’ll be best to place the statues as far away from the toilet as possible!
9) Returning the favour（还愿）
Say, if somehow your 4D numbers came up as the first prize in the upcoming draw after praying to the God of Fortune, it’s time for you to return the favour.
What you have to return depends on the promise you made when you’re praying to the God of Fortune! If you actually promised to donate half your winnings to the needy, you better do so!
You wouldn’t want to know what will happen to people who don’t keep their promises!
10) Knowing right from wrong
Well, this is to everyone out there who’s really devoted in the uh, way of the money. Having some kind of belief isn’t always a bad thing—as long as it doesn’t become an obsession!
Praying to the God of Fortune is a way to bring about happiness to our families. Knowing that they will watch over you might help some sleep more soundly at night. But I’ve seen too many people gambling their lives away, believing that the God of Fortune will watch over them.
If God of Fortune does exist, I’m sure he will stay away from these kinds of people. Well, I mean, even I would stay away from them!
With that being said, 恭喜发财，年年有余！May this be another prosperous year for everyone!