Category: Media & Culture / February 4, 2013 12:59 PM EST
Residents of Chenjialou Village in east China's Shandong Province have recently been busy making melon-like candy for worshiping the Kitchen God on Sunday, konwn as traditional Chinese festival of Kitchen God's Day.
According to the elders of the village, the melon-like candy making was created by their ancestor Chen Pengchun 300 years ago, for the purpose of worshiping Kitchen God, in praying a better life in the coming new year. Listed as Shandong Province's intangible cultural heritage, the making of melon-like candy has become the favorite of local residents nowadays.
In his workshop, Chen Huaiguo, a handicraftsman who makes melon-like candy for a living, started working with six or seven other handicraftsmen at mid-night.
Two of them pulled the mashed sugar with the vapor produced by the nearby boiled water, until the sugar became white. When the mashed sugar was made into sugar sheets, the handicraftsmen worked in a group of three and made the sugar sheet into sugar tube. After cutting the sugar tube with a jute thread, they turned the sector of sugar tube into a ball. The melon-like candy was thus finished.
Although the local villagers have tried to inherit the skill, the tradition tends to fade out. It is because no youth would like to do such a hard work, which is only necessary for about 40 days before the Kitchen God's Day in a whole year.
However, with the efforts of local residents, melon-like candy making was listed as the intangible cultural heritage of Shandong Province in 2009. In order to protect the traditional handcraft, more than 100 handicraftsmen established the Chenlou Village Society for Melon-like Candy Studies, and made the melon-like candy a famous local specialty, which in turn promoted the selling at the same time.
"This year, the melon-like candies have been sold well since November, and the melon-like candies of the 12 workshops in our village were all sold out. Demand even exceeded supply," said Chen Huaiguo, a local handicraftsman.