Foshan China 2017-05-02
Lettuce party is a folk belief of the Han, which is popular in Guangzhou, Nanhai and Shunde regions on the 26th day of the first lunar month. Starting from the end of the Ming Dynasty and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty and going down in the early new China era, it is a gathering to worship Kuan-yin for kids and fortune with a history of more than 300 years. According to Guangzhou Prefecture Record, at first, eating lettuce in lettuce party is to "welcome the vigor of spring".
Lettuce is pronounced as "Sheng Cai"(生菜) in Chinese. "Sheng" means giving birth or being vigorous while "Cai" refers to fortune and wealth. Thus, the purpose of holding lettuce party becomes wishes for fortune and children later. In ancient times, the 26th day of the first lunar month was the birth of Kuan-yin and many people went to Feng Mountain Ancient Temple to borrow and return money to Kuan-yin. After burning incenses, people would pick clams at the "Mo Zai Rock" (摸仔岩) behind the temple wishing to give birth to children. They would also eat lettuce packages at lettuce stands.
Lettuce packages have a Chinese meaning of "包生", which refers to having many kids and a happy family. It is a tasty traditional food with a wish of good luck and fortune. There are certain procedures in eating lettuce packages. After washing the lettuce, put some rice and dishes in it, add some sauces, wrap it into a package, and then have a bite of it. Succulent stir-fried dishes covered by sweet and crunchy lettuce make a special flavor that is very tempting. And all of the dishes have good meanings in Chinese. For example, Chinese pickles fried with clam means having a lot of children and bean vermicelli fried with small shrimps means living a long and wealthy life.
Guanyao Lettuce Party
Among all of the lettuce parties in Guangdong, Guanyao Lettuce Party is the most characteristic with a longest history. It originated from the Ming Dynasty and became popular since the Republic of China till nowadays. According to historical records, many women wishing for children climbed the Feng Mountain and ate lettuce. In that year, many of them had babies. In 2007, Guangyao Lettuce Party was listed as the first batch of Foshan intangible cultural heritage. In 2009, it was listed as the third batch of Guangdong intangible cultural heritage.
North Village Lettuce Party
In the North Village, Dali Town, Nanhai District, lettuce party has a history of more than 200 years, which falls on the treasury-opening day of Kuan-yin. In 2012, the North Village Lettuce Party was selected as the fourth batch of Nanhai intangible cultural heritage and became an iconic activity during the Spring Festival in Dali.
For villagers of North Village, the annual lettuce party is more important than the Spring Festival. Many relatives working in other places will reunite with their families during the lettuce party every year. On that day, lion dance teams nearby will give performances together.
Liandu Lettuce Party
So far, Leliu Liandu lettuce party is the biggest in Shunde and has been held for more than 40 times. Every year about 20,000 residents in Shunde and surrounding cities and even relatives from Hong Kong and Macao will take part in the "grand gathering of making fortune" to enjoy gourmet. In 2013, Shunde "the custom of worshiping Kuan-yin" was chosen as the fifth batch of Guangdong intangible cultural heritage. "Leliu Liandu Lettuce Party", "Rongggui Bailiantang treasury-borrowing and returning" and "Longjiang Firing Big Firecracker" are main content of this project.