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Tuesday 21 February 2017


Fuzhou people in China celebrate
 'U Kou Jei' 拗九节 ,
also known as
'How Lon Jei' 孝顺节 
on the 29th day of the 1st month
in the Lunar calendar
拗九节又称后九节,孝順节. 在我国的福卅同郷已鮮少庆祝,可能也忘記了”孝順粥”的味道。


On this Festive day, every household will cook 
'U Kou Jiok'  拗九粥 or 'Ah Oo Jiok' 阿烏粥
'Jiok' is porridge,
and U kou sounds like dirty
in Foochow dialect.

It is cooked with 
glutinous rice, brown sugar, groundnuts, red dates, raisins & dried longan.

This porridge is offered to ancestors, and
given to friends & relatives.
Married daughters will bring a bowl of this porridge
to present it to her parents as a sign of filiapiety.

'Kou' 九 in Foochow is 9
The Foochow people believe that the number 9 is bad luck
so the porridge is presented to people whose age
 has the number 9 , 明九 (ming kou) e.g.9 yrs old, 19, 29 etc
hidden 9, 暗九 (ang kou) e.g. 18 yrs old, 27, 36 etc
to ward off evil or bad luck for that particular year!

As such, olden days Foochow believe that 
it can help to ward off evil,
kick out poverty
bring luck to the person receiving it.

The tradition started from the story
Mulian 目连 ,a peasant girl
brought food for the mother who was in jail.

To prevent the jailer from confiscating the food again
she sprinkled a handful of black sesame seeds onto the bowl of porridge
to make it look black and dirty.
Hence the name, 'Ah Oo Jiok'
'Oo' 烏 in Foochow is black

When asked what was it that she brought,
she told him it was 'Oo Kou Jiok'
'Oo Kou' sounds like 垢 in Foochow
meaning dirt!

The jailer let her go
thinking that the poor peasant girl
had nothing better to bring than the dirty porridge!

My mom is very particular about this porridge.
She insists all of us, married daughters
to bring a bowl for her on this
29th day of the 1st Lunar month.

She likes to have an hard boiled egg in this porridge
The egg, which signifies peace, further enhances
the meaning of this porridge! 

Foochow sisters out there,
if you are interested, try this recipe

Foochow Ah Oo Jiok
50g peanuts, boiled to soften
110g glutinous rice
25 pcs red dates
50g raisins
30g dried longan
2 heaped Tbsp brown sugar

1) to make porridge, bring to a boil with sufficient water, 
    all the above ingredients except sugar
2) let simmer until rice is soft, add brown sugar, sweetened to taste
3) serve warm or cold

Taiping Foochow Association


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