The 5th lunar day of Chinese New Year is the Welcome Day for the God of Wealth. Many families worship the God of Wealth in the early morning. After the ceremony, people explode firecrackers to invite the God of Wealth to enter the house. That's why we can keep continuously hearing the sparsely sound of firecrackers in the morning.
Many stores open on this day after Chinese New Year holiday. Some religious store owners put a table in the front of company's main entry. They prepare fruit, flower, candy, tea, candles and animal sacrifices on the table to worship the God of Wealth. Some even invite the lion dance team to celebrate the opening ceremony. The mascot of the God of Wealth will appear and enter the store. The store owner will give the mascot a Red Envelope with money reward inside.
Who is the God of Wealth? The answer is more than one Gods of Wealth in the Chinese society. Some selected gods are from the novel of Feng-Shen Bang (The Bulletin Board of Delegated Gods), which is written in Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644 AD). The story of the Feng-Shen Bang is talking about the rise of Chou Dynasty (1045 BC to 256 BC). The characters are the historical figures mixing with religious gods, goddesses, devils, demons, immortals, fairy person and spirits from Chinese mythology.
The main character in the Feng-Shen Bang is Chiang Tze-Ya who was a student of Original Supreme God. Mr. Chiang studied to become immortal at age 32 and failed after 40 years later. He went back to his home town and had trouble to make a living as a restaurant owner, businessman, fortuneteller until the founder of Chou Dynasty asked him as the premier when he was 83. He was rewarded the state of Chi after Chou dynasty conquered the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC to. 1046 BC). He lived up to 139 year old, severed for four emperors of Chou Dynasties and had 13 children.
The first God of Wealth is Chao Kung-Ming. Before the book of Feng-Shen Bang, Chao Kung-Ming had magic power and was in charge of wind, thunder and rain. Once he was also in charge of plague. That means he can save or take away people's lives. Later, he became a general of millions of ghosts. He had a black face, wore combat uniform with helmet, carried golden wheel and metal chain on the the back of a black tiger.
In the Feng-Shen Bang, Chiang Tze-Ya delegated Chao Kung-Ming as the officer of Dragon-Tiger Black Hall by the decree of Original Supreme God. From then, Chao Kung-Ming was in charge of business of gold, sliver, and jewelry.
Chao Kung-Ming wasn't entitled as the God of Wealth by Chiang Tze-Ya. But because of his position, Chao Kung-Ming became the God of Wealth in Chinese mind. People forgot about his ugly and fierce face and changed his image by adding golden treasure around him.
Chao Kung-Ming was killed by the shooting arrows on this both eyes and heart. People said the God of Wealth is without eyes and heart, which means everyone has the chance to become millionaire from the blessing of the God of Wealth no matter you are rich or poor.
Chao Kung-Ming was a gangster when he was young. He regreted what he did in the late age. Once he took off his clothes and asked people to punish him by using firecrackers to bang his body on the Lantern Festival night. To injure himself is to atone the sin and to be responsible the coming disaster. The event of mass firecrackers is still held in the Lantern Festival night today.