Around the World

Offering oranges to the Gods is a way to ask for good fortune and money.

Fruits, sweets, incense, animals, paper money and even gold are amongst the goods offered to the gods throughout history.

Every religion has its own types of offering and the item offered may relate to a particular prayer or religious occasion. Sometimes, the person making the offering hopes for a prayer to be answered, such as asking for a sick loved one to be healed. Other times, the offering may be to give thanks or celebrate a special time of year!

In Asia oranges are given to the gods as a prayer for good fortune and lots of money.  

Especially during Chinese New Year, people make offerings of oranges. The time of year signals a new beginning and Asian people wish for luck and wealth to come their way in the coming year. Orange trees or smaller kumquat trees are placed in people’s doorways to encourage fortune. Gifts of oranges are traditionally given to friends and business partners on the second day of the Chinese New Year, to remember an Emperor who gave oranges to his staff long ago on that very same day.  

The meaning of food offerings

In China offerings are often chosen because of the similarity of a food’s name to things people wish for or because some foods have a symbolic meaning. Here are a few examples: The Apple stands for wisdom and peace, a banana for success in school, noodles (uncut) stand for a long live, meat balls for reunion, onions for cleverness or sweets for safety. Do some research so you can bring the right foods next time you go to a temple.

The color of monks

Buddhist and Hindi monks are dressed in bright orange (actually saffron) robes. In Buddhism orange is the color of enlightenment — the ultimate goal of all religious practice. The Buddha has chosen this color for all his followers. In Hinduism it was the divinity Krishna who first wore orange and those who follow his teachings dress like him. 

By Deborah L. Caine (Whyzz writer)