By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Feb 13: Today is the 20th day of the first lunar month in which the Hakka people observe ‘Tian Chuan Day’ (天穿日), a day they suspend work for rest and eat glutinous rice cakes to help patch up ‘a big hole in the sky’.
Legend had it that the God of Water and God of Fire were fighting, and when God of Water lost the battle, he banged his head against one of the pillars holding up heaven, causing the pillar to collapse and heaven to crack open.
With a large hole in the sky, this caused disasters on earth, including non-stop torrential rain and fire.
Goddess Nuwa then quickly mended the sky with colourful fire stones to bring stability back and prevent disaster from coming down to earth.
Hence, to commemorate Goddess Nuwa, it has been a tradition and custom of the Hakka people to celebrate ‘mending the sky’ (补天穿 or bu tian chuan).
On Tian Chuan Day, the Hakka people will take a day off from work because of the belief that everything would be lost anyway regardless of their hard work since there is a hole in the sky.
This is a time for the people and earth to take a break.
Other than worshipping at temples and holding folk singing contests in celebration (depending on the different Hakka regions), by and large, the Hakka people will cook and eat glutinous rice cakes as symbolic of mending and patching up the sky. —DayakDaily