The custom of borrowing luck in a hundred-year-old temple in Saigon

On the occasion of the Lunar New Year, many people go to Ong Pagoda (District 5) to worship and “borrow fortune”, promising to pay twice as much next year, hoping for a prosperous business.

On the evening of February 4, the day before the full moon of January, many Chinese in the Cho Lon area and tourists visit Ong Pagoda, wishing for luck and blessings in the new year.

Ong Pagoda, also known as Quan De Temple or Nghia An Assembly Hall, is the assembly hall of the Trieu Chau and Ha people who came to Vietnam to live, built around the beginning of the 19th century. The temple worships Quan Cong (or Quan Thanh De Quan). a character of the Three Kingdoms period with a loyal heart and heroic spirit.

After worshiping all the shrines, people flocked to the place to receive the blessings of Ong Pagoda. Unlike many other temples, here pilgrims often borrow luck instead of asking to return as usual. This custom has existed for about a hundred years, from the early days when the new assembly hall was built.

“Loaning” is a traditional activity every Lunar New Year of Quan De Temple. Legend has it that Quan Cong is a god who has the function of patronizing and protecting people’s business, so people believe that if he lends luck , the business will prosper.

Borrowed luck will be fruits, usually tangerines, red envelopes and precious paper (the type of paper luck for worshiping gods in folk beliefs of the Chinese).

In principle, if you have a loan, you will have to pay, if a visitor to the temple borrows a portion of the fortune, then at this time next year, he will return twice as much. It is an unwritten trading principle that has existed for hundreds of years.

Since the morning of the 14th, the temple has prepared thousands of gifts, there are more than 20 volunteers working to distribute and receive gifts from customers when they borrowed last year. The borrowing takes place quickly, guests just need to raise their fingers to express the fortune that will be paid this year.

Mr. Giang Thanh, District 10 returned double the loan borrowed last year. “Every year on the occasion of the Lunar New Year, I also come here to borrow luck from Quan Thanh De Quan, hoping for a prosperous business. The borrowed tangerine and “noble” note will be placed at the altar of the God of Wealth. This custom is very meaningful in our lives. Chinese community,” said the 65-year-old man.

Huynh Nhat My Duyen with the borrowed fortune from Quan Thanh Emperor. The 26-year-old girl said that this is the first time she has heard of this custom, and will return to the temple next year to repay the loan.

Volunteers are busy preparing blessings for visitors to the temple. It is expected that this year the club will distribute about 20,000 gifts on the occasion of the Lunar New Year.

On the opposite side of the place to borrow luck is an area to sell and hang lanterns for luck and prosperity. There are two types of lanterns: prosperity and peace, which are sold for 400,000 – 800,000 VND($1=24,000 VND). Customers who buy lanterns after the ceremony at the Quan Cong statue will hang them at the temple or bring them home. This is a common custom on the occasion of the Lunar New Year of the Chinese community.

Mr. Diep Nghe Kien, 32 years old, lives in District 5, hangs a lucky lantern in the temple grounds after worshiping Quan Thanh Emperor. “This is my second time doing this custom. The name of the lantern itself also carries everyone’s wishes for the New Year,” he said.

Holding two peace lanterns in her hands, Ms. Tran Ngoc Loi, 68 years old, sincerely prayed for peace for herself and her family. “The house is near, so every Lunar New Year, I visit the temple. To the Chinese, Mr. Quan is very sacred,” she said.

In the main hall is the worshiping hall of Quan Thanh Emperor, crowded with guests to kneel and pray. The Assembly Hall restricts holding incense and lamps into the main hall to avoid suffocation.

The pagoda also has a shrine dedicated to the horse Xich Tho, the steed of Quan Cong. After burning incense at all the shrines, the worshipers wait in line to touch and crawl through the horse’s belly to pray for blessings for the new year.

With an area of ​​about 4,000 m2, the pagoda is a tourist attraction in Ho Chi Minh City. In 1993, the work was recognized as a national architectural and artistic monument.

Tet Nguyen Tieu, also known as Thuong Nguyen New Year, held on the full moon day of the first month is an occasion for people to pray for peace, relax, and hope for a peaceful year. The Lunar New Year event in Ho Chi Minh City took place on February 4 and 5 (January 14 and 15) at Van Lang Park, District 5 Cultural Center and throughout the Chinese assembly halls with parade programs. , performing arts of opera, lion dance, dragon…

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