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Pua Tiong Chiu: 跋中秋 - The Filipino-Chinese Mooncake Dice Game

When we think of the Mid-Autumn Festival, images of beautifully crafted mooncakes and glowing lanterns often come to mind. Yet, in various parts of the world, the celebration incorporates diverse customs and traditions. In the Philippines, where a significant Chinese-Filipino community resides, the Mooncake Dice Game called Pua Tiong Chiu (跋中秋) is celebrated with much enthusiasm.

Origins and Significance

The origins of Pua Tiong Chiu in the Philippines can be traced back to the influx of Chinese immigrants, primarily from the Fujian province of China. They brought with them not just their cuisine and language, but also their festivals and customs, which over time blended with local Filipino traditions.

Pua Tiong Chiu, like its counterpart Bó Bǐng in China, is an engaging game that intertwines luck and celebration. At its core, it’s a way for the community to come together, marking a time of thanksgiving and bonding.

How to Play Pua Tiong Chiu

  1. Setup: Typically, a large table is set up with various prizes ranging from mooncakes to electronics and household items. The arrangement and significance of the prizes depend largely on the host’s discretion.
  2. Dice and Bowl: The game requires six dice and a china or porcelain bowl. Players take turns tossing the dice into the bowl.
  3. Prize Allocation: Based on the combination of the dice results, players can claim a corresponding prize. For example:
    • Four 4’s might yield a top prize.
    • Other combinations correspond to lower-tier prizes.

The specifics of prize combinations can vary from one game setting to another, with some households or organizers having their own unique set of rules.

Modern Twists and Continuation of Tradition

In the vibrant streets of Manila’s Chinatown, Binondo, you can witness grand Pua Tiong Chiu games, especially in big establishments and schools during the Mid-Autumn Festival. These public games often have lavish prizes, and the spectacle draws large crowds, both of Chinese descent and local Filipinos.

With the Philippines being a melting pot of cultures, the game has been embraced and adapted in various ways. While the traditional aspects remain, modern prizes and adaptations can be seen, reflecting the fusion of Filipino and Chinese cultures.

Conclusion

Pua Tiong Chiu in the Philippines showcases the beautiful amalgamation of Chinese traditions with Filipino hospitality and merriment. It is more than just a game of dice; it’s a testament to how cultures can merge, evolve, and create shared moments of joy. As families and friends gather around the table, taking turns at rolling the dice, they are not just playing for prizes but celebrating the spirit of unity, luck, and gratitude.

 

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