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Choy San Yeh: The Man Behind The Goatee


With red lanterns and a brand new moon that decorate the sky alongside the signature rhythm of beating drums and fireworks in the distance, marks the arrival of that special time of year again.

Let us transition from what was to newer and brighter beginnings this Chinese New Year with the help of Lion Dances, Yee Sang and a visit from Choy San Yeh himself.

But who really is the man behind the beard?

Also known as The Military God of Wealth, Choy San Yeh is an ancient deity that symbolises prosperity, riches and good fortune.

You may recognise him as a long bearded man who sports dragon clothes, a golden staff and is usually found riding a black tiger. He carries a gold ingot and ties coins to his right hand – being very important wealth symbols and attractors. Often, he is also depicted with children around him, in which according to ancient Chinese traditions; are the greatest treasures of all.

His origins are a mysterious one as there are two myths of how this powerful and auspicious man came to be.

One states that Choy San Yeh was actually a very loyal general of King Zhou of the Shang dynasty that went by the name of Bi Gan. Once the dynasty was overthrown, his legend lived on and soon was canonised as the God of Wealth.

Another states that he was once one of the Gods of the Underworld called Zhao Gongming, until the Jade Emperor beckoned him up to Earth to help mortals attract wealth into their everyday lives.

No matter his genesis, he has become one of the most influential and vital Chinese Gods there are, and people have since prayed to Choy San Yeh for many centuries.

During the days of imperial China, beggars and other unemployed citizens would circulate from family to family, carrying a picture of Choy San Yeh, yelling out, “The God of Wealth has come”, and the householders would respond with “lucky money” to reward the messages.

Similarly, businessmen and women would hold a prayer just for him and start their businesses on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year so they’d be blessed for the coming year.

So much history and legend can be found tangled up in that beard of his, and that is why this year, we at ganforhire have decided to celebrate this well-known God of mystery and all that he represents – further commemorating and immortalising this symbol of prosperity.

In light of this, check out our new Chinese New Year campaign and make sure to  groom great prosperity and foresight this in this auspicious year of the goatee.

Gong Xi Fa Cai.

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