Peter and I bought these Loving Couple in Divisoria in the Philippines because they looked so cute. We just couldn’t resist.
By the way, Feng Shui object d’art is big business in the Philippines.
Apparently, these figurines are of a newly married couple.
Aside from Mandarin ducks figurines, which I think is a slightly more popular choice, the Loving Couple is also presented to a newly married couple a symbol of true love.
Traditionally the Chinese believe that if put these wedding couple in a room where you are mostly with your other half, in the bedroom, sitting room, kitchen or even in the dining room, your personal relationship luck will be activated and be a longlasting love.
I recently watched a drama called The Story of Ming Lan, where the second male lead gave the female figurine to Ming Lan to keep, while he kept the male one for himself.
Well probably because he separated them, he did not get to keep Ming Lan in the end.
Our beautiful Yew Tree lit up at night with Christmas lights, photo by PH Morton
The Yew Tree
We have got a lovely yew tree in our front garden which we dress up with lights on Christmas. It is now about 8 feet tall and still growing.
But did you know that the yew tree has a not quite a nice superstition attached to it?!!!
Yew (Taxus baccata) is a characteristic tree of churchyards, where some are estimated to be well over 1,000 years old.:
It is believed that ever since people arrived upon UK shores, they planted yew trees in acts of sanctification, close to where they eventually hoped to be laid to rest.
And, according to a label on a yew tree at Kew Gardens in 1993:
The Druids regarded yew as sacred and planted it close to their temples. As early Christians often built their churches on these consecrated sites, the association of yew trees with churchyards was perpetuated
Apparently, if you bring in a yew (as part of a bundle of greenery for decoration) inside the house at Christmas, there will be a death in the family before the year out. It is also advised not to take yew inside the house because it is very unlucky!!!
Oh no, our yew tree is so beautiful to be a source of such malevolent superstition.
And all parts of the yew tree are poisonous, the hidden seeds inside the berries are extremely poisonous.
Global Granary would like to wish you all a Happy Chinese Valentine’s Day! Jiayou
Yep, me too. I find it rather ‘strange’ to be celebrating Valentine’s Day today. Valentine’s Day is on 14th February every year. 🙂
Today, however, is the Qixi Festival, also known as Qiqiao Festival. This festival is celebrated just like the St Valentine’s Day, where lovers go on dates, giving presents like chocolates and flowers.
The Qixi Festival originated from one of the poems from the Shijing collection of Odes and Songs dating back from 11th to 7th century BC.
The poem is a narrative of the saga of the romantic but forbidden relationship that develops between a human and a goddess.
Niulang was a poor cowherd boy, who lived with his brother and brother-in-law. He was a male Cinderella, maltreated and abused to the point of being thrown out of the house.
Niulang then met an old man, who told him that there was a job going for a resourceful cowherd. Niulang was so grateful to the old man, who was, in fact, a supernatural being. He brought Niulang to the heavens to look after sick cows.
In no time, the bovines where thriving. The old man was grateful to the young man. He noticed thought that Niulang looks lonely. As a reward for the hard-working man, he introduced her to a beautiful girl, who spends her day weaving. She is a goddess incognito and her name is Zhi Nu.
It was love at first sight for both of them.
A marriage between a mortal and a deity is strictly prohibited.
But they did not care; they were in love and got married, had two kids and would have lived happily ever after if the goddess’ grandmother did not find out.
The grandmother, Wang Mu Niang Niang, thought her granddaughter was contentedly weaving infinite yarns 🙂 in a corner of the heavens; she did not know that she was playing wifey to some mortal.
She was incandescent with rage that with her hairpin she scratched a wide ribbon in the heavens separating Zhi Nu from her mortal family.
Zhin Nu and Niulang with their children cried so much that their tears flowed into the chasm between them creating a river.
It might be pity or it might be a wish for some peace and quiet from all the cryings that a great flock of magpies forms a bridge so the family can be reunited for a day.
So it was then decided that on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month each year, the magpie will help to reunite the family. That is why today is also known as Magpie Day.
This time around, our visit to the Philippines was more tumultuous than past vacations, for obvious reason because our mother had passed away.
During this visit, all of us have suffered from some form of ailments, mostly stomach ache, diarrhoea, stomach bug related.
It became ridiculous the amount of time we spent in the toilet and despite medication like Imodium, Diatabs and the likes, we continued to suffer.
There was only one thing left, and that was to consult the great lady of Nicodemus in Dagupan, Tondo.
Apparently, she has a very long experience of curing people on the cheap and also saving time (queuing & waiting) and consulting medical doctors.
This lady of Nicodemus can diagnose the type of ailments by using candles and a bowl of water.
Sometimes, she does not even have to see the patient or know the full name of the person being diagnosed.
Anyway, the first one to consult the Lady of Nicodemus was Marilou. She had not been sleeping because of acute stomach ache and the constant need to go to the toilet.
The Lady of Nicodemus did her supernatural bit by letting the tears from a lit candle fall into a bowl of water. The tears from the candle then started to form a shape. Marilou’s one has so much indentations and protuberance that it could only be a man. 🙂 🙂 The Lady of Necodemus said that a man (living) had hexed (usog) Marilou. The lady prescribed Marilou a drink of a pancit pancit tea. It seemed to have worked as Marilou finally had her good night sleep denied to her during the last few days.
When I heard about this good diagnostic from the lady, I was so intrigued that I sent Dayday to the Lady of Nicodemus to diagnose Peter. Dayday said that she would go after 6 pm, to ensure the power of the Lady of Nicodemus was more potent. Who am I to argue?!!! 🙂
At exactly 6 pm, Dayday went and spoke to the Lady. After the candle ritual, it was found out that Peter had not been hexed by anyone because the candles formed a very smooth shape, pretty normal. His stomach upset was due to dinuguan, eating lots of bloodied pork! How did the lady know about this? Again Peter was prescribed the pancit pancit tea and to eat grilled pork and tofu. He has not followed the advice, ergo, he still suffers from mild to acute stomach ache!
Just then my brother, who said he does not believe in supernatural hocus pokus, said that his left eye had turned red. He said it just happened and the only strange thing that occured to him that day was meeting a cat at a hotel room that was largely not reached or occupied by paying guest. My brother was there to fix the air-conditioning system.
Anyway, Alma went to the Lady of Nicodemus, who by now was absolutely perplexed by the goings on in our house in Fullon. 🙂 🙂 🙂
The lady said that we or my family in Fullon is living with a duende (supernatural little person) in the house and that it is better to keep him undisturbed as he is harmless. Woah!!!
Also, my brother seemed to have offended the spirit in the hotel and therefore he had to make amends by offering a sacrifice of 3 cigarettes, a glass of beer, a plate of food place in the darkest corner of the house. My brother also has to say a heartfelt apology.
We had to come earlier than planned and also unexpectedly to the Philippines. This was because our beloved mother had suddenly passed away on 19 June 2017 at the age of 82.
Even now her passing is still rather surreal. Our mother was so strong, feisty and had a very larger than life personality. She always came out strong.
She was the type that spoke her mind no matter what consequence it would left behind. She did not have a self-edit button in her brain. She said things the way she perceived it and usually in a very tactless way, which sometimes did not earn her any good points.
However, despite her quirks, she did have a very good way of looking at things, her psychology of people worked very well. She can see through anyone.
My mother did not suffer fools gladly, however when you had gained her trust, she became a firm friend and a very trustworthy one at that. She will do anything for you.
Her children are her life and the love of money 🙂 was what made her ticked. She always complained of being lacking in money, this may be true as she can be generous, and rather too generous as we found out while we were sorting out her paperworks and documents. We found that she had been regularly ‘donating’ to the Benny Hinn ministry.
Well, I hope it made her happy, that is all we can say, as her children. We do not really need any inheritance from her. Thank God, she had brought us up to be independent and resourceful.
Anyway during her funeral there were so many things that we had to observe. Some are mind boggling but we did try to adhere to them as we do not want our dearest mother to be burdened or troubled in the afterlife.
Here are some of the weird and wonderful superstitions:
Apparently if the wake is held at the house, the family members are not allowed to bathe in the house. (They can take a bath somewhere else!) My mother’s wake was held at St Peter’s Chapel in Mayon corner A Bonifacio. I would personally advise to get a funeral plan set up. It will help in the long run and one less thing to worry about during a sad and trying time.
Avoid sweeping the floor during a wake and this apply most specially to the bereaved. Sweeping means trying to get rid of the spirit of the dead.
After leaving the wake, do not go straight home as the spirit will follow you. My sister who came home from the states, stayed at our old family home. She made sure that she would go elsewhere first before going back home each time she came back from the wake. She said it was not the spirit of our mom that she was concerned about but the spirits of the others in the funeral home.
Do not bring home the food served at the funeral wake. Why would you?!!!
If the dead person is an elderly, ensure to partake of the food served during the wake. Apparently the long life of the deceased will rub on you.
Avoid tears falling on the casket because the tears will prevent the dead from going through easy transition into the afterlife.
if the dead person’s fists are cleansed, this would mean money trouble for the family left behind; if the hands are opened there won’t be financial difficulties (hope this is true, I noticed that my mom’s hands were opened and that she had big hands.)
The dead should not be wearing shoes to prevent hearing them walking the floorboards.
Change your clothes worn from the funeral immediately after coming home.
During the wake, someone should be awake.
Apparently you shouldn’t say thank you to those offering condolences.
All the flowers during the funerals must be buried with the dead but all the names of the family members written on the casket must be removed but not by a family member.
After the 9th day of my mom’s death, we had to give sopas (macaroni soup) noodles, biko, puto and cakes to neighbours and those who attended the wake and funeral.
The same food giving will occur again on the 40th day of her death.
Discarding her belongings will commence on the 40th day of her death. Her clothes will be given to charity. Actually it is preferable that her clothes are given away a year after her death.
I was watching an episode of Father is Strange last weekend when there was a scene where the family insisted Joon-Young, who finally passed his civil service exam after many tries, to slurp the whole of the noodle strands rather than biting into it.
I was intrigued enough that I googled what it meant. 🙂
Apparently it is a Chinese tradition (or superstition), which seems to have a widespread effect that neighbouring countries had adapted it. I know in the Philippines, eating noodles is a must during birthdays. The long strand means longevity of life. I was not aware though that you had to slurp the whole thing into your mouth and then chew, rather than biting a bit of it as you chew.
Anyway, it is encouraged to slurp the strand in all its length so that one does not cut off one’s span of life.
Thank goodness, this superstition is applied only on birthdays and other milestone celebrations.
I couldn’t be going to restaurants, especially posh ones, and slurping my pasta down my throat. It would be unethical and extremely embarrassing. LOL