Bai bai food

I don’t know about you, but our office did the big bai bai thing this morning so, the same as every year, after the gods had eaten their fill, they brought mountains of the bai bai crap upstairs for us to eat – a second offering, so to speak. In truth, it doesn’t seem right to me to offer the same food twice. Seems like if you want to offer it to the gods it should be consumed in the process, say thrown in a bonfire, rather than recycling it for petty goodwill with employees.

But it’s not. Instead, after the bai bai, each department receives different booty, so spread forth on the cabinets just outside my cubicle were piles of salty crackers, sugary cookies, salty dried noodle snacks, other sugary cookies, dried boring cookies, sugary drinks with indiscernable flavors and other such stuff, all packed with salt, sugar and chemicals.

Of course I had no intention of gorging on such crap, but it’s been sitting there for several hours and I’ve walked past it a dozen times, so I couldn’t help grabbing a big handful each time. Anyway, I’m feeling pretty crappy now, despite the many glasses of water I’ve drunk trying to flush the stuff down, but I’m sure the day (and the binging) are not over yet.

Oh well, Happy New Year.

Of course you could have done what I did today: just take an apple and an orange and leave all the unhealthy stuff (instant noodles!) for people like you. :smiley:

Btw, forgot to say sorry for feeling crappy. That sucks.

[quote=“Mother Theresa”] In truth, it doesn’t seem right to me to offer the same food twice. Seems like if you want to offer it to the gods it should be consumed in the process, say thrown in a bonfire, rather than recycling it for petty goodwill with employees.


heheheh, yeah, I share the same sentiment too; have always thought it pretty insincere, consuming what’s been offered.

This is the practical side to Taiwanese religion. The gods/ancestors/ghosts only partake of the essence of the offering, the proof being that the food still exists in all its glory after the offering. Waste good junk food, much less meat or fruit?

The Everly brothers wrote a song about this: bai bai food, bai bai happiness, hello loneliness, I think I’m a-gonna cry…

Opinions seem divided among locals about this food. Some seem to believe the food is blessed; others won’t touch it.

Bai bai food
Bai bai happiness
Bai bai sweet desert
Bai bai food Goodbye

There goes my pudding
With someone new
They sure look happy
I’m turning blue

That was my chocolate
'Till I got huge
Bai bai to snack food
Bai bai again

Bai bai food…

I remember years ago, my friend asked me if I were a Christian, because apparently, Christians in Taiwan don’t eat baibai food. Mebbe nominally, but not if there’s roast duck … :lick:

Great work. Somewhere Phil and Don are laughing.

I don’t try to eat bai bai food if I can help it… but it depends. If they know you’re a Christian and they offer you bai bai food intentionally to get you to send the message that you still adore their gods, then I wouldn’t. However if they are treating you like friend and are offering them out of respect or kindness, then by all means take it.

I’m surprised that the malevolent spirits and ancestors don’t get mightily pissed off and kick up more of a ruckus what with the garbage that they are served. :sick:

This was my take too. Why waste good food and I saw as a more interesting form of communion. I always make sure a decent bottle of booze is offered.

I just refuse to believe Mazu takes the spirit of the Pringles. What does that mean, anyway? She licks the sour cream flavour off and puts them back in the tube? Guanyin, hearer of the cries of the world, enjoys carbonated beverages? Spiritually speaking, that is.

And Jeebus, I ETED your ass. Hah!

That’s what I always tell them. I say I am not permitted to eat food that has been offered to other gods because I’m a Christian. That’s usually the end of it.

Then again, I never eat any of the cake and other sweet sugary assortments I get offered at work. But I don’t really have a sweet tooth, and the thought of double sugar cake and other extra sweet assortments makes me gag…

Ah, but my pal makes some seriously good stuff, under close supervision from the MiL from hell. Roast duck, ginger chicken, veggies, fish. :lick:

My family on my mothers side are nominally buddhist (no surprise there) and I am Christian. I always had trouble eating the bai bai food. So i just ate a wee bit.

The key is to use as bai-bai food things that you really like. Then you offer it up to the Gods, with a very polite: “Howdy-do, would you like to partake of this fine ham sandwich?” And when he/she/they/it replies by simply not touching your food, you can then give him a wink and say: “Thanks, pal!”

But if you go over to Tiantan or the Forbidden City in Beijing, you’ll find a whole other philosophy of gift-giving to the Gods. In ancient times, they used to destroy stuff (silks, jade, etc.) there onsite to make sure the sacrifice was really done.

I like to think that the ham-sandwich method is more environmentally friendly and reflects a belief in a benevolent diety/dieties. However I realize it can be cathartic to smash things. Maybe the ultimate combination would be to bring a ham sandwich and a couple of old television sets over to the temple next time I go with my in-laws. But if anybody wants to try it out for me first, let me know and I’ll give you their phone number.

food offering may be different from gift sacrifice , I know about the burning of stuff and valuables but I’ve never heard of burning food. It is general belief that wasting of food is a sin in the Chinese culture.

The first time I saw one of these tables I thought it was a free sample stand and took some grapes.