There’s a little unspoken rule about food offerings that we see around Singapore—don’t step on them and don’t take them.
But what happens if we do?
It seems like one guy was fearless as he was caught stealing fruit from a random HDB unit on Sunday (11 September).
In a CCTV footage posted on a Facebook Page, Sg Chinese Community, a man was carrying a few plastic bags and walking down a corridor, probably heading home, before stopping at the front of an HDB unit.
His eyes land on the fruit offerings on the wall. Within a minute, he reaches to take one and makes what seems to be a short prayer before leaving.
Just two minutes later, the man returns, this time without his bags. He stops at the same unit and prays before grabbing the remaining fruits on the altar and walking back.
Instead of scolding the man, netizens were kind and said how it was good that the man gave his thanks to the altar and was at least able to eat.
The Symbolism of Food Offerings
You often see these offerings during the Hungry Ghost Month or Hungry Ghost Festival.
Despite the festival ending, people still give offerings as a sign of respect. It can also be used as a prayer or a wish and can be addressed to ancestors and other beings such as the Jade Emperor and The Kitchen God.
In the CCTV footage, it seems like the owner of the flat used apples as offerings which symbolises wisdom or peace.
Other common food offerings would be noodles which represent a well-lived life or pineapples to “invite luck”.
Food offerings aren’t left on the altar for long though. Depending on the culture, some people eat the offering after that while others burn it.
But one rule of thumb is to never take an offering randomly or step on it if you’re unsure.
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Featured Image: Facebook (Sg Chinese Community)
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