Kee Kongsi Cheng Beng is unique to other Clan Kongsi Cheng Beng in Penang or Malaysia. Firstly the celebration entailed a whole set of old tradition. Cheng Beng relatively is all souls day for the Chinese, one very important event in the year.
Just a month back, I went back to Sungai Bakap for The Kee Kongsi Cheng Beng. This year it is a little different as the managing trustees for the Cheng Beng and festivals rolled over to my cousin Kee Thuan Teng.
Most preparation for the Kee Kongsi Cheng Beng was collectively arranged by Yong Hee Chek (Chek means Uncle father's 2nd cousin), Nooi Kor Kor (Yong Hee Chek sister), and Ah Poey Chim (aunt from dad's side).
There are two ways the Kee Clans have been praying in Cheng Beng Festivals in Kee Kongsi. One is offering prayers and meals to their lineage collectively in the Kongsi.
As it is the managing trustees responsibilities to perform all yearly festivals, one need not have to bring anything but to come back to offer prayers.
Or second method too as this is important. 10 days before and after the actual day of Kee Kongsi Cheng Beng, one can go to the cemetery to Tek Chua. The English meaning would be tomb cleaning day.
Here you can watch how Newman Kee and mum went up to the private Kee cemetery to clear the tomb and Tek Chua on his grandfather's tomb.
After clearing the tombs of your loved ones and you may offer food right then on the cemetery. Or participate in the Kee Kongsi Cheng Beng on the actual Cheng Beng.
And I took the opportunity to pay my respects to GGG Father Kee Tek Phang cemetery. As we are already in the 6th or 7th generation, it was evident, none could remember the 2nd generation.
This is a collection of preparation from Ah Nooi Kor Kor, who stood by to help her brother dutifully and yearly in the Cheng Beng Festivals prayers in the Kongsi.
Cook or order dishes for prayers to Chor Chor and second line ancestors to fourth line ancestors. 12 types of dishes, both wet and dried dishes are prepared and served. There are no hard and fast rules. Some families served 3 or 6 or 12 dishes.
Ordering the 5 earthly meals which consist of Uncooked Salted Fish, Roasted Duck, A Pig head, White Steamed Chicken and Steamed Crab. Local Cakes or Kuih like Bee Koo, Huat Kuih and Ang Koo to name a few.
A few types of fruits, Chinese wine, Chinese Tea. Folding of Joss Paper (Gin Chua). Spring Onion in a bowl of hot water for circling the Joss Paper.
Two sets of prayer and food offering at different times. Chor Chor Kee Lai Huat and second line was offered first.
After they have concluded eating approx one hour later, the third and fourth will then be set and food served.
First, Chor Chor Kee Lai Huat was being invited down and sat in front of all the food laid down for him.
Cousin Thuan Teng with Yong Hee Chek's help went through the ceremony of offering prayers to Door Diety or (Mui Sin), God of Heaven, the Earth diety (Tay Chiew Kong).
These three permissions have to be conducted before Chor Chor can be invited to begin to partake the food laid down by the loving descendants during Kee Kongsi Cheng Beng.
This is one of the acts of filial piety according to my uncles and aunts, one I was told never to forget.
After the one hour is up, the signaling of completion was done through two wooden kidneys pieces (puak poey) or shillings, coins.
The method was direct a prayer to the honorable ancestors, then ask whether they have finished having the meal or any favors one needed guidance. The answer are in three forms: yes, smile or no.
One if both shillings shows the head side being flipped up, it means not yet in any answer you need. If both flowers of the shillings flipped up, it means they are happy but laughing at you.
So you can ask for another favour, if you need it. If one head and one flower of shilling is shown, it means a favorable reply. For these case, once the favorable reply is given, that means the meal is satisfactory, Chor Chor name tablet is then return to its altar.
And time to collect all dishes away from Chor Chor table and begin to offer the Kee Kongsi Cheng Beng food to the other lineage ancestors.
While Uncle Yong Hee and Cousin Thuan Teng did the burning of joss paper, the ladies folks prepares for the other lineage offerings, in the same manner.
Cousin Thuan Teng would then take a little pinch of each dish, puts it in the bowl which has the spring onions soaked in hot water for circling round the joss paper meant for Chor Chor astral world usage.
He has to circle three times, clockwise direction, muttering the names of Chor Chor and advising them to accept the gifts from the descendants.
We then prepared rice and food for serving the rest of the third and fourth lineage ancestor. This meant having thirty or more bowls of rice, tea, spoons and chopsticks to be laid down for the prayers.
Bowls of soups and dishes arranged in a straight line. On the side of Chor Chor main altar, stood the third and fourth lineage ancestor. See this page if you don't know the history of my ancestors lineage.
After both the third and fourth lineage table had been prepared, it is now time for Cousin Thuan Teng to officially invite both these lineage for their yearly Cheng Beng meals.
There are many other festivals that will be offered in the months to come for which I will return to offer my prayers.
In the same manner, we will congregate for an hour, exchanging news, aunts and uncles telling their younger days or lives stories about the great times they had and so on.
Recipes are shared, as some traditional food are only served during these festivals seasons.