What is Thank Tai Sui (Send Tai Sui)?
Thank Tai Sui, also known as Send Tai Sui, is the ritual performed at the end of the year to express gratitude to Tai Sui, appreciating the blessing, safety, and smooth sailing of this year. Thank Tai Sui is the second half of an annual Tai Sui-praying ritual, an echoing activity to the Bai Tai Sui ritual performed in the beginning of the year, which is praying for safety, protection, and blessing. As a general rule, the ritual to thank/send the Tai Sui of the current year can be performed as early as around the December 22nd, the winter solstice, and as late as before February 4th, the start of spring of the next year.
Who needs to Thank Tai Sui?
Different from Bai Tai Sui ritual that anyone can perform, Thank Tai Sui ritual is often only applied to those who performed Bai Tai Sui ritual in the beginning of the year. If you do not pray to this year’s Tai Sui, it is not necessary to thank Tai Sui later in the year. But if you plan to pray to Tai Sui for the year, you should also prepare to thank Tai Sui at the end of the year.
Why does Thank Tai Sui matter?
Tai Sui of the year is the God of the year. There are in total of 60 Tai Suis in the 60-year sexagenary cycle. Tai sui of the year has supreme power, overseeing all events of mundane world. Allegedly, a Tai Sui general being selected for the particular year is because this Tai Sui general’s value and life lesson being most applicable to the mundane world of that year. Tai sui of the year has supreme power, overseeing all events of mundane world. Therefore, praying to Tai Sui will assimilate the wisdom of annual god, will prevent people from harm, instability, illness, and financial losses, minimizing harm and transform their fortune.
Thank Tai Sui is considered the second half of this Tai Sui praying ritual to communicate one’s gratitude to Tai Sui. It reminds a prayer for the overall achievement of the year regardless of many setbacks and obstacles on the way, emphasizing the positive and appreciative mindset of the prayer through communicating the thankfulness to the Tai Sui, refreshing the state of the mind for the new year. It is great way to connect an individual’s personal growth to the energy flow of the cosmos.
The popular timelines for Thank Tai Sui & Feng Shui Year
The timeline for Thank/Send Tai Sui can be rather confusing if you have already consulted with a number of people or done enough amount of research. There are simply too many different sayings about the proper timeframe for Thank Tai Sui ritual depending on the areas and traditions.
In some areas, Thank Tai Sui ritual should be performed sometimes near but before December 21, Winter Solstice; while some areas would prefer the ritual to be held between Winter Solstice and the lunar new year; some areas even have a custom of holding the ritual on a specific date, for example, lunar December 23rd is often recognized as the date to thank/send kitchen God and other deities in mundane back to heaven to report their annual mundane matter, therefore, it is considered a traditional day to thank/send Tai Sui. There are also some combinations of the timeframes above, such as between lunar December 23rd and the lunar year, or between lunar December 16th and the lunar year because lunar December 16th is the last day of praying to earth god, so southern areas of China believes this is also the day to set up the last feast of the year (Weiya) to thank Tai Sui, etc.
The simple way to think of the ritual time is to understand the essence of Tai Sui. Tai Sui is a pocket of energy that is reflected in both time and space in an annual period. Tai Sui General of each year is basically the energy personified. What divided the energy of the year in Feng shui practice is the start of spring, February 4th. A typical Feng Shui year goes from February 4th, the start of spring of this year, to February 4th, the start of spring for next year. The essence of Tai Sui is a pocket of annual energy. Therefore, as in a general rule, any praying ritual for the new Tai sui should be performed after February 4th; and any praying ritual to express gratitude of the old Tai Sui, Thank/Send Tai Sui, should be performed before February 4th next year. There is not a specific rule of how early or how late you can go before or after February 4th.
As far as you have my bottom line in mind, you can go with any date that would fit your local area’s custom while not in direct conflict with your own zodiac, for example, if you are zodiac rabbit, you do not pick a date of zodiac rooster; if you are a zodiac Ox, you do not pick a date of zodiac Sheep, etc.
What is the difference between Thank Tai Sui & Bai Tai Sui?
Bai Tai Sui is really an umbrella term that can be used for all Tai Sui-praying activities and all groups of people in the beginning of the year. However, most people have referred Bai Tai Sui as the praying ritual to the new Tai Sui of the upcoming year and Thank Tai Sui as the praying ritual to thank or send the old Tai Sui of the current year.
Though the ritual processes of Bai Tai Sui and Thank Tai Sui are rather similar, but the themes are different. Bai Tai Sui simply to pray for a good year of health, safety and protection, etc.; while Thank Tai Sui conclude the sail of the year and communicate the thankfulness.
The popular timeline of both rituals is very different and can be even overlapped sometimes based on local custom. Just keep in mind that the actual date of energy change is February 4th, the start of the spring. Before February 4th, you are praying to the old Tai Sui; after that date, you are praying to the new Tai sui.
For example, if you participated a Tai Sui praying ritual on February 6th, 2023, you are praying to the Tai Sui of 2023, hence, Bai Tai Sui. Later in the same year, say, December 23, 2023, you performed the Thank Tai Sui ritual, that is still for the Tai Sui of 2023.
If you participated a Tai Sui praying ritual on January 20th, 2023, you are still praying to the Tai Sui of 2022, though folks may believe they are praying to Tai Sui of 2023. It is not since the energy has not yet changed. Tai Sui goes by the Feng Shui Year, which is from February 4th of this year to February 4th of next year, as we discussed in last topic. If you would like to pray to the Tai sui of the New year, you will need to perform the ritual after February 4th, the start of spring. If you would like to Thank Tai sui of the current year, you will need to perform the ritual before February 4th of the next year.
How to Thank Tai Sui – 4 important steps
I have another article providing detailed guidelines on how to prepare and perform the ritual of Bai Tai Sui. The ritual processes of Thank/Send Tai Sui are very similar to Bai Tai Sui. I will cover the full processes again and point out the differences that you will need to be aware of in the steps below.
Step 1: Find a temple with Tai Sui shrine.
Just like the Bai Tai Sui ritual, most of the Thank/Send Tai Sui rituals can be performed in a local temple. I suggest, if possible, find the same temple where you performed your Bai Tai Sui ritual. However, this is not a fixed rule. If you live in a different area currently, you may have to do research for the local temples with Tai Sui shrines available again.
If you performed Bai Tai Sui ritual earlier this year but cannot find a local temple with Tai Sui shrines in the area you currently live in, you can check with any of Daoism and Buddhism temple whether they are holding this Tai Sui praying event or providing any annual praying service. Some temples will provide annual Thank Tai Sui services for groups or individuals, though forms and requirement can vary. It may not be exactly a full Thank Tai Sui ritual, but it is a good alternative if there are no other options available.
For those who did the Bai Tai Sui ritual at home earlier of the year, they will have to perform the Thank/Send Tai Sui home. As I explained in my Bai Tai Sui article, I do not suggest performing such ritual at home for beginners; however, I will provide a complete guideline on how to Thank/Send Tai Sui at home for reference in case you already performed Bai Tai Sui ritual at home. The steps below will focus on temple rituals of Thank Tai Sui.
Step 2: Prepare for essential items.
If you can find a Tai Sui temple (or a temple with Tai Sui Shrines), you are mostly good to go because, just like Bai Tai Sui ritual, most of these temples will aid on preparation services, joss paper and Tai Sui prayer template, incenses and candles are all in a packet for the upcoming prayers to purchase and pick up. Most temples would have an assistant or a receptionist to help beginner to go through the process, some would offer to compile your joss paper in the end and burn it for you.
Most of these temples would have a website and contact information for you to reach. I would suggest give them a call ahead of time for their availability of items and on-site assistance. It will save you a lot of time to purchase and compile these items on your own if you are doing this ritual for the first time.
Having said that, I include the list of items that you need to prepare for Thank Tai Sui ritual. Please remember some items and requirement can be slightly different depending on the local custom. But the list below should cover most essential items you need to carry to that temple in case they do not provide any onsite service.
Same as Bai Tai Sui, Thank Tai Sui required items are also tribute and Joss paper packet.
Tributes: Thank Tai Sui tribute requirements are the same as Bai Tai Sui. Vegetarian dishes, fruits, candies, cookies bean cakes are universally accepted in any temples.
Popular items include:
- Fruits (avoid melon). Some areas prefer 5 types of fruits to represent five elements, but not a necessary practice. Great options are apples, grapes, tangerines, oranges, red dates, dragon fruits, bananas, grapefruits, Persimmon, etc.
- Candies, cookies; biscuit; crackers or bean cakes
Some areas also use flowers, tea leaves, and even lamp oil, these are not essential items.
Joss paper packet: The Thank Tai Sui joss paper packet is slightly different from Bai Tai Sui packet. The list below from 1 to 5 are the items included in the Bai Tai Sui joss paper packet. The first three items will be the same, but #4 Tai Sui prayer form will be changed to the Thank Tai Sui template. #5 Tai Sui talisman will not be included in the packet and people are advised to bring the Tai Sui talisman that they have from the earlier Bai Tai Sui ritual and burn it together with the joss paper packet in the end of the Thank Tai Sui ritual.
- A stack or multiple stacks of the joss paper.
- A pair of candles or more.
- A packet of incense sticks.
- Tai Sui prayer form to fill out your personal information.
- Tai Sui talisman. (Thank Tai Sui packet does not have Tai Sui Talisman)
There are so many varieties of Thank Tai Sui joss paper packet in terms of pattern, design, names, and combinations, some including paper ingots and other symbolic tribute items made of joss paper. You can go with any combinations the local temple or stores providing to you, but all you need is one regular set of joss paper. I include couple sample joss paper packets below for your reference.
- A pair of candles or more.
- A packet of incense sticks. If it is a big temple with 60 individual Tai Sui shrine, you are expected to put down on incense for each Tai Sui; so, you will need around 70 incense sticks and three thick incense sticks for Doumu, the leading Lady Mother of all Tai Suis(will explain later); if it is a small temple, you may only need three sticks for the incense holders in the entry of the hall.
- Thank Tai Sui prayer form to fill out your personal information.
Thank Tai Sui prayer form is a template that is often included in the Tai Sui praying joss paper packet. Though the theme in the template is now to communicate prayer’s gratitude; however, the personal information required to fill out for the prayer is still the same. It is usually a prayer’s full name, address, age, time of birth, name, and year of the Tai sui, etc. I include a sample template and instruction of how to fill it out in the pictures below.
If there is no available template, you can just write down your personal information on a piece of joss paper, or simply write down your personal information on a piece of red paper and put it inside a red envelop.
- Tai Sui talisman. Thank Tai Sui joss paper packet does not include a Tai Sui talisman. But if you have kept a Tai Sui talisman with you the whole year(since the Bai Tai Sui ritual earlier this year), it is the time to take it out and include that in the joss paper packet. Once this Thank Tai Sui ritual is done, you will burn it with the joss paper packet.
Once you have all the items mentioned ready or known that the temple you visit would provide what you need onsite, you can start selecting a date to perform this ritual.
Step 3: Pick an auspicious date.
You may already have a basic understanding of Thank Tai Sui timeline based on my prior topics. You then need to pick a good date among the dates available to you. The general rule is to avoid performing the ritual on a date that is clash with your zodiac. For example, if you are zodiac Rat, you do not go to the temple on the date of zodiac Horse; if you are a zodiac Rooster, you do not pick a date of zodiac Rabbit, etc. You can refer to a Chinese Almanac for the details of the date.
I am working on an article that is specifically for 2023 Bai Tai Sui ritual, it will cover specific auspicious dates for each zodiac people, please check it out in near future.
Step 4: Universal ritual processes at temple.
Once you finalize the date, please make sure the temple is open and available. Take a shower and do a short meditation the night before if possible. Double check if all essential items are ready to go. When you go to temple to Thank Tai Sui, it is advised to put on your formal and clean dress, avoid wearing capris, shorts, tank tops, etc.
Once you arrive the temple, the praying procedures are the same as Bai Tai Sui ritual. Always check with a temple staff member or a receptionist on how you should proceed from there. If there is no helper available, please take a few minutes to observe what other people have been doing in that place as the customs and setting can be varied in each area and each temple. If there is any local custom, follow it for respect. I include the general procedures below for reference; however, please make sure to follow the rules and requirements of the local temple you visited.
1. Find the right incense holder for the hall. If the incense holder is placed outside of the hall, what you need to do is to light a pair of candles first and put them on the big incense holder; then light the three thick incense sticks from your joss paper packet, with three incense sticks in hands, bow and pray to the direction of the hall, and use your left hand to put them in the big incense holder before you enter the hall. (If the incense holder is placed inside the hall, simply perform the same ritual inside the hall but pray directly to Doumu(or known as Doumu Yuan Jun) in the central shrine, see the step below).
2. Enter the hall of Tai Suis. First, properly lay all the tributes and the joss paper packet on the table, gassho, bow, and pray to Doumu in the central shrine, the leading goddess for all 60 Tai Suis. Doumu is known as the Lady Mother of the Chariot, who is the feminine aspect of the cosmic God of Heaven.
3. After expressing your gratitude to the Doumu, you can go to the shrine/statue of annual Tai Sui that you prayed to earlier this year. You start with gassho, bow and say your prayers that conclude the past year of achievement and obstacles that you have overcome, expressing your gratitude for a year of good sail and blessing under the attention and care from Tai Sui. Make sure you say your personal as well. Finally, lay three unlit incense sticks in front of the shrine. Please note that big temples with Tai Sui shrines would evenly display each Tai Sui’s shrine in a circular manner or on two sides of the hall, with 30 Tai Suis on each sides. These temples would often provide a table numbering each Tai Sui for your reference. The annual Tai Sui shrine is often decorated with a banner behind.
4. After praying to the annual Tai Sui, you will pray to the Tai Sui of your birth year. Simply gassho, bow, and say your prayers of gratitude(same as to the annual Tai Sui) with your personal information included, finally then lay three unlit incense sticks in front of the shrine.
5. Now you have prayed to Doumu, annual Tai Sui and Tai Sui of your birth year, what you need to do is to express gratitude to the rest of 58 Tai Suis following a clockwise direction. You do not need to say prayer anymore, a simple gassho and bow in front of each Tai Sui and lay an incense stick will be sufficient.
6. You are done with all the praying part, you just need to find the fireplace to burn the joss paper packet. There is usually a temple staff member handling joss paper packets from the prayers. All you need to do is to hand him/her the rest of joss paper packet, including joss paper combo, the Thank Tai Sui prayer form you filled out earlier, alongside with your Tai Sui talisman.
7. That is it for the ritual of Thank Tai Sui at temple. Give yourself a pat on the back because you have gone through all complicated procedures that scared most people away and have complete the second half of Tai Sui praying ritual for the year!
Above all these
The steps above are the complete processes of Thank Tai Sui ritual at temple. Same as any Tai Sui praying ritual, the custom, the methods, or details do not matter as much as averaged people stated, because there is one thing that goes above all these rules and customs, that is the prayer’s pious state during the prayer ritual. This mentality will connect and communicate prayers’ inner thoughts to Tai sui, integrating, and harmonizing prayers’ energy flow to Tai Sui that manifested in the rhythm of time and space, which is the most important part of Tai Sui ritual.