Many Penangites are Taoists. Therefore, when they have prayers, there are many things to observe. For e.g. the kind of cakes offered to the deities have their own significance. And fruits also carry some special meaning.
The above is a plate of huat kueh (in Hokkien) which means prosperity cakes. It is a must when offering to the deities as it signifies prosperity to the devotees. There is another type of kueh, call the angkoo (red turtle) which I hope to show one day. When offering angkoo, the devotees will chant something like ‘pai angkoo, beh hui khoo’ (offer angkoo, the descendants/devotees buy properties, it rhymes, you see?).
As for fruits, sometimes, family members can go into feud if one party offered the wrong kind of fruits. For e.g. pears. It sounded like ‘scrap’ in Hokkien. Therefore, if say, the daughter offered pears to the ancestors, the son may accused the sibling of trying to scrap all the properties from their ancestors. So, only certain fruits like pineapple (ong lai = prosperity come), apple (pheng koh = fair and harmonious) and oranges (like gold) are permitted. Another best to avoid furit is the yellow China pear called ‘lai’ which sounds like ‘come’. This also can be construed as one party trying to call all the luck to their side. Even grapes are not permitted as it sounds like a saying, ‘pai phor tho, ju sui ju bo’ (like grapes, the more you count, the more there is none).
*The owner of this blog is a Catholic. The above are just mere information which she had learnt from her past family traditions. What was mentioned above is not mere jokes but real things that had happened especially during Ching Ming where the descendants are gathered together for prayers.