Newsletter No 8: Jun 2012

Praying to the Earthly Gods before renovation


In many customs, it is belief to select an auspicious date for engaging an important event i.e. starting a business or moving into a new house. However, the Chinese custom belief that praying respect to the Earthly Gods before and after renovation is as important as well.

There are many ways to reach the same effect:

1) Invite monks or masters from the temple.

2) Engaging qualified Taoist priest.

3) DIY prayers.

It has been common, nowadays for many to DIY the prayers so as to save cost. As such, I would like to share with you what I would normally do on the auspicious day and the time selected by the Master for praying respect to the Earthly God before renovation.

Items needed:

1) Fruits that could be a mixture of 2 plates 5 each. i.e. Apples and Pears or Bananas

2) "Fa" Cake – Chinese Prosperity Cake

3) Candy peanuts bars and candy biscuits

4) 5 cups of chinese tea

5) 5 glass of rice wine

6) 5 joss sticks

7) 1 stack of gold incense paper and 1 stack of sliver incense paper

8) 1 pair of Chinese candles

9) 1 tin or pot of earth for placing the candles and joss sticks

10) An incense burner or container.

Prayer before Reno 

Set up in the middle of the living room facing the door or windows. Make use of your compass to understand the direction North, South, East and West.

Wash all fruits and place all offerings on red plastics plate, followed by the earth pot and then the wine and lastly the tea which is placed in front of the offerings.

Light up the candles and then the joss sticks. With the joss sticks in hand, make prayers to the East earthly god, next South, next West, next North and lastly back to the Centre each with 3 bows.

Introduce yourself, make known you are the owner or on behalf of the owner, stating the day (normally the same day) that the renovation will start and pray for smooth, good health and safety during the renovation. Thereafter, you may place the joss sticks in the earth pot.

When the joss sticks reaches the mid, you may offer the incense paper.

Once the above is done, you could make use of a hammer to knock the 4 corners and the middle of your living room of your apartment to symbolize the start of the renovation. Wish for smooth and safe renovation when knocking.

After the prayer (i.e. after the joss sticks have burned completely), you may pack all offerings to be placed under a tree. Keep the plates and cups that could be used for thanking the Earthly Gods after the renovation.

Thanking the Earthly Gods will be shared in our next newsletter. 



By Hu Wei Hong