The Earth Gods’ birthday falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month as per the Chinese calendar and is chiefly celebrated in Taiwan. This year, it falls on February 21. The Earth God, also known as Tudi Gong or Tudi Shen, is among various Earth deities of Taoism. He is the ‘Lord of the Soil and the Ground.’ Tudi Gong is known for his generosity which is why many devotees visit temples dedicated to him on his birthday to seek his blessings. The devotees worship Tudi Gong by lighting incense sticks and offering food, wine, and flowers.
It is believed that Tudi Gong’s benediction brings harmony and abundance to a community.
History of Earth God's Birthday
Tudi Gong, simply called Tudi, is a deity in Taoism and other Chinese beliefs. Tudi Gong is depicted as an elderly man with a white flowy beard who dons a golden hat and a bright red or yellow robe. He holds a wooden shaft in one hand and a golden ingot in the other.
Shrines dedicated to Tudi Gong can be found in every town or community in Taiwan. In the olden days, when villages were primarily concerned with agriculture, people sought the Earth god’s blessings for a bountiful harvest. Nowadays, they ask for wealth and well-being in prayer. The Earth God is also invoked when a deceased is buried, thanking Tudi for the land. Contrary to other deities, shrines of Tudi Gong within the home are placed under the altar or below the front door.
On this day, devotees visit nearby temples to pray and give offerings such as the customary Taoist gift of longevity noodles and red tortoise cakes. Longevity noodles are long noodles that are cooked without breaking them and eaten without biting in the middle. Red tortoise cakes (or Ang Ku kueh) are cakes made from rice skin and sweet filling, molded into a tortoise shell shape. Both the foods are symbolic of longevity and prosperity.
Earth God's Birthday timeline
Lao Tzu is regarded as the founder of Taoism and his book “Tao Te Ching” documents the guiding principles of the philosophy.
Taoism rises to prominence during the Tang Dynasty.
Checheng Fuan Temple, the largest Tudi Gong temple in Taiwan, is built.
During the Communist takeover in China, Taoism, Confucianism, and other religions or philosophies are banned, leading to their fall in practice.
Earth God's Birthday FAQs
Is Tudi Gong a female?
Tudi Gong is represented as an elderly male god. He is often portrayed with his wife Tudi Po, who is a female.
Why is Taoism (Daoism) not a religion?
Taoism is not a religion but rather a philosophy. Taoist principles teach a perspective that allows people to lead a more fulfilling and happy life.
What are the three main beliefs of Taoism?
Inaction, simplicity, and harmony (with nature) are the three main principles of Taoism.
Earth God's Birthday Activities
Visit Tudi Gong’s temple
Pray for prosperity and wealth to the Earth God at your nearest Tudi Gong temple or shrine. It’s bound to open your mind.
Travel the extra mile
Visit the largest and the oldest Tudi Gong temple, Checheng Fuan Temple in Hengchun, Taiwan. It’s considered one of the most auspicious shrines of Tudi Gong. The practice of writing names on a postcard and tying it in the temple is believed to bring luck.
Make tortoise cake
Learn the traditional red tortoise cake recipe. Since it’s a laborious process, you can ask your family for a lending hand and turn it into a fun activity.
5 Interesting Facts About Tudi Gong
Pray for a holiday
The Earth God’s birthday is not an official holiday.
Don’t grant all the wishes
Tudi Gong has a wife called Tudi Po who is not worshipped as devotedly as her better half and was sent by the Jade Emperor to keep her benevolent husband in check because Tudi Gong tended to grant all the wishes of his devotees.
A shrine to protect the city
Tudi Gong’s shrines are said to protect the locale it resides in.
Beneath the altar
The shrine or image of Earth God is placed beneath the altar or at the front door of a house to prevent bad energies from entering.
Highest and largest
The largest Earth God statue is 984 feet above sea level at Zhonghe Hongludi.
Why We Love Earth God's Birthday
It’s a day to delve into spirituality
Visiting places of worship help people regain faith in a higher power. Giving thanks and seeking blessing helps to maintain one’s beliefs.
The oblations offered to the Earth God are taken back by people as God’s blessings. So, people usually offer food that they enjoy eating themselves. Several make-shift shops also sell food outside the temple during festivals.
It promotes the Daoist philosophy
With rising chaos in the minds and hearts of people, many are looking back at ancient philosophies and teachings to gain wisdom and peace. The Earth God’s birthday is a chance to revisit the principles of Taoism (also spelled Daoism) that remain relevant in modern times.
Earth God's Birthday dates