Fei Chen has been featured in these blog posts several times. This one is her latest about the Hakka culture.
“Everybody has a piece of Sky over their head. 每人頭上有一頂天.” My sister said to me at times of uncertainty. I’m comforted that Sky or 天 protects and looks after all of us. Sky and I have formed a very special bond. With my head turned up to the blue Sky, I whisper my secrets and joys and deposit all my imaginary treasures in that heavenly space.
Not everyone is lucky to have a sister to look out for them or to impart words of wisdom. 每人頭上有一頂天. Many years ago when we ventured out to North America, we faced unknowns and other obstacles. I was lucky that during such times, I had and still have my sister with whom I can share my inner-most thoughts, my joys and my doubts.
Now that the snow has melted away, at the crack of dawn I am once again able to venture outside in the open spaces in search of my hidden treasures and to reconnect with my piece of Sky 天.
Sky 天: In our Hakka culture we refer to Sky-天 as our supreme celestial power from which we draw our physical and mental well-being. When I was young, I used to accompany my grandmother to climb four long flights of stairs to the pinnacle where our revered temple or 聖帝公公 is located in Pei-Mei High school, Calcutta, India. Our rickshaw-wala carried our wicker baskets filled with food prepared by my mom. These we offered to our God. I watched my grandmother bow to the open Sky first, holding lighted incense sticks, before she commenced her prayers.
Food for thought: Just as food forms the main part of our offerings to God, food brings us together at our Hakka community gatherings. The delicious flavor of food leaves us with more sweet thoughts about ourselves and the people we shared the feast with. In our last Hakka social gathering we were privileged to have Chef Paul Wong 黃正傑 join us and demonstrate how to make Northern Chinese dumplings. Our very own Hakka Chef Paul! He was chatty and full of humour while he did a “show and tell” of this savory authentic Chinese cuisine which not only satisfied our appetite, but also stimulated our brains.
bon appétit !!!by