The sixth day of the lunar new year is when everyone returns to work, and in order to invite good luck for the new year, many businesses in Taiwan will offer food, drink, incense, and paper money to the gods. I noticed many tables of food on my way to work, and then got to experience a new part of Taiwanese culture at work for myself. Many of the foods on the table have special meaning based on puns in Chinese. Others are there because someone likes to eat them. I had fun taking lots of photos while my coworkers bowed with incense and burned paper money. The fires were fascinating.
These moon-shaped things are a set of tiny 筊杯 (jiaobei) — they're used to interpret the will of the gods. One side is rounded and one side is flat. To use it, you ask a yes-or-no question and throw it on the ground. One round and one flat means yes; both round means no; and both flat means the gods are laughing at you. My coworkers used them to determine whether the gods were full yet. It took a few tries, but once the answer was "yes" it was the cue to begin burning paper money.
I saw a lot of black marks on the sidewalk and gutters and wondered what caused them. It turned out that they were marks left by firecrackers. We set off our own and the sparks and smoke and noise were pretty amazing. It didn't photograph too well though, so I chose this shot of the aftermath instead.
I meant to do a few posts introducing my coworkers but still haven't managed to do it yet, although I've been collecting portraits of them. Next week, maybe? I have way too many photos to get through for this week. February really is a crazy month. But that means you guys get lots of great content! (Just humor me and pretend you're excited, ok?) :P
I'll try to get the photos from this weekend up on my blog by the end of the week, so stay tuned!