Huilai Folk Traditional Custom -- Out of the Garden (Coming-of-age Ceremony)

Since the Qing Dynasty, huilai area has a special rite similar to the ancient rite of coming-of-age -- "out of the garden". It is the eastern Chao-speaking area and Hakka area for 15 or 16 years old (all count imaginary age) of male and female children held adult education etiquette, indicating that the men and women have become adults. The time is the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the Qiqiao festival, this custom is still quite popular.



Out of the origin of the garden, it is said that in the past, the house of the rich family built a garden supporting the children's joy. When a child reaches the age of 15, it is considered ready to go out of the house and worth celebrating. From the traditional psychology, huilai people believe that children live in the garden under the protection of the god of in-laws until the age of 15. When the children reach the age of 15, the ceremony of "leaving the garden" must be held on the 7th day of the first month of the Seventh month to let the children jump out of the "garden" wall and go to the vast world to study or engage in business activities.



The ceremony of going out of the garden is to put the three fruits together into 4 pieces, 8 pieces or 12 pieces, and put them on the commonly known "jiaohui" (a bamboo pan for drying, containing cakes, fruits and peanuts), then invite out the god furnace of "the god of in-laws", and the children going out of the garden kneel before the god of in-laws. This is the last time to worship the god of in-laws. On this day, children should wear red clogs and jump over "glue" and return many times. At noon, the home to prepare a sumptuous lunch, meat, three birds eggs and so on a total of 12 courses (said a year 12 months of life happiness). Green vegetables to thick, green garlic, green onion, celery and so on, meaning that children grow up to be able to calculate will divide, smart and diligent, everywhere to want to. Let the children out of the garden sit upright at meals, symbolizing that the child has become the pillar of the family; To let the child eat chicken head (male chicken head, female hen head), it means that they can grow up to be prominent and prosperous. During the dinner, the relatives want to wish, send good expectations. On the day of leaving the garden, the mother has to bring offerings on behalf of the children to the temples in the streets and lanes to offer sacrifices to the "huagong Huagai" who is "staying together" with the children to thank them for their blessing.




"Getting out of the garden" is an important milestone in the lives of 15-year-old boys and girls. On this day, they will pay their last farewell to their "mother-in-law" who has blessed them with health since they were born a month ago. If he or she is the youngest child in the family, then from this day on, the family will no longer offer incense to the "mother-in-law".



The young people who "go out of the garden" can not only wear new clothes and do not have to work, but more importantly, they have to complete an important ceremony on this day, which is called "biting the head of a chicken". It was the first time in their lives that they had eaten a whole rooster on their own, including the head and feet. Because chickens often tremble when they stand on their own feet, adults say that children should not eat chicken feet until they are "out of the garden." Eat hands tremble, can not write calligraphy.



A cock used to bite the head cannot be castrated. Usually, roosters are sent by my uncle's family. And a pair of red painted clogs from my uncle's house. Other close friends and relatives will also send gifts to celebrate the festival, the most common is to send a duck, but also four eggs with red paper. Some people will give a girl a piece of cloth.


It is human nature to return favors. Therefore, every family that has children "out of the garden" in that year will raise a large flock of ducks from the beginning of the year, in order to prepare the children "out of the garden" for dinner or return gifts. For those who come to give gifts, in addition to the wine banquet, as usual also send a duck or half cooked, and some cakes as a gift.


In the past, after "out of the garden" man even "ding", the woman can also talk about marriage. There are a few instances of people taking their children out of the garden, but for most people in the countryside, "out of the garden" is a line that must be observed.