The eighth day of the Chinese New Year is commonly believed to be the birthday of millet, an important crop in ancient China.
The eighth day is also typically when people return back to work and therefore store owners and businesses host a lunch or dinner for their employees, thanking them for the work they have done over the past year. The Jade Emperor ritual is held at midnight with burning incense and food offerings made to the Emperor and Zao Jun, the Kitchen god who reports on each family to the Jade Emperor.
Mythology: An old folk proverb says that if this day is bright and clear, then the whole year will be a harvest year, if it is cloudy the harvest will be poor. While millet is no longer a staple food in China, the aim of the day remains a celebration of harvest, agriculture and food. It is a day when parents will take their children into the fields to introduce them to the basics of growing food, caring for animals and how to cultivate crops. In this way the children learn the work involved and gain appreciation for the preciousness of food. In some regions families will free captive animals on this day.
Join us tomorrow to celebrate Day Eleven of the Chinese New Year!
References: Wikipedia, Jadeturtlerecords.com, Chinadaily.com, Chinatownology.com, Chinesefortunecalendar.com, Chinesezodiac.com, Surveycrest.com, Chinatravel.com, Chinahighlights.com.