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Poeple of Kinmen's special thought about the Mid-Autumn Festiva

This is another important day for family reunions besides lunar Chinese New Year. In recent years, gambling for mooncakes has become a popular game played during Mid-Autumn Festival in Kinmen.

The origin of Bo-Bing in Kinmen

Bo-Bing used to be a Mid-Autumn Festival custom which was popular in Kinmen and Xiamen. Legend said during the time at the end of Ming Dynasty and beginning of Qing Dynasty, Zheng Cheng-Kung (Koxinga) was training soldiers on Kinmen and Xiamen islands. One of his military officers who was originally from Kinmen, invented Bo-Bing to entertain soldiers during Mid-Autumn Festival.

Gift from Moon Festival's Bo-Bing

Prizes are mooncakes in different sizes. There are 63 mooncakes total, including a Zhuang-Yuan-Ping (cake of number one scholar), two Bang-Yan-Ping (cakes of number two scholar), four Tan-Hua-Ping (cakes of number three scholar), eight Jin-Shi-Ping (cakes of successful candidate in the imperial examinations at the national level), 16 Ju-Ren-Ping (cakes of successful candidate in the imperial examinations at the provincial level), and 32 Xiu-Cai-Ping (cakes of scholar who passed the imperial examination at the county level). The total number added up from the thrown die determines who wins the prizes.

Symbolization of Zhuang-Yuan-Ping

They are round, which symoblize the sitting in a circle to play Bo-Bing and the unifying of the whole family on this day. After winning the games, they can appreciate the beauty of the full moon, eat the cakes, and have a relaxing conversation.

Significance of the game of Zhuang-Yuan-Ping Bo-Bing

Six dice and a big porcelain bowl, which is nessary to make a clear, clinking sound. Everyone takes a turn to throw the six dice all together in the big bowl. The high sum of red dots wins the best prize (Zhuang-Yuan-Ping), and so forth.

The meaning for the game

The names of the prizes in Bo-Bing are similar to the ones in the imperial examination system. Through the Bo-Bing gambling activity, people learn by playing, and this further allows people to become familar with the examination system and encourage them to study hard to pursue a successful future. Playing Bo-Bing has been a cheerful and relaxing game on Mid-Autumn Festival.

Custom of the Bo-Bing

Earlier, due to the strict martial laws imposed in Kinmen, Bo-Bing disappeared. Not until recently has Bo-Bing become popular once again. In recent years, Kinmen County Government has attempted to develop traditional folk crafts and arts, thus Bo-Bing has returned and is popular during the celebration of Mid-Autumn Festival.

The rules of Bo-Bing

Six dice are needed in the game. There are six ranks of prizes which match with official ranks in the imperial examination during feudal times. Following is the table illustrating the rules and explanations.

Name No of prizes Rules
Zhung-Yuan 1 Either more than four-dotted-dice(∷) or more than five same patterned-dotted-dice
Bang-Yuan 2 Each dice has different dots.
Tan-Hua 4 Three four-dotted-dice(∷).
Jin-Shi 8 Four same-dotted-dice (except for the four-dotted-die)(∷)
Ju-Ren 16 Two four-dotted-dice
Xiu-Cai 32 A four-dotted-die.

Other gift beside the Moon Festival Bo-Bing

More prizes have been added in order to attract more tourists to participate in Bo-Bing. People can win Kao-Liang Liquor, delicious peanut candies, handmade thin noodles, herbal products of the moghania roots, or kitchen knives from bombshells. All these local specialties have become the best prizes for Bo-Bing.

The ingredients of Zhuang-Yuan-Ping?

Zhuang-Yuan-Ping is a buttered pastry filled with redbean paste. The whole set of Zhung-Yuan-Ping comprising 63 cakes comes in six sizes with a total weight of six kilograms. The ingredients used in each size of the cakes weigh about one kilogram.

Tip:

Zhuang-Yuan was the one who placed first in the highest imperial examination. Ban-Yan was the scholar who won second place in the imperial examination with Tan-Hua placing third. Jin-Shi was a successful candidate in the imperial examinations at the national level held in the Emperor's Palace. Ju-Ren was a successful candidate in the imperial examinations at the provincial level, and Xiu-Cai was one who passed the imperial examination at the county level.