Si Fu Tan
(or birthday of the master) is a feast exclusively celebrated by carpenters and blacksmiths. In Calcutta, the Cantonese carpenters and ship builders celebrate this feast with celebration dinners after paying respect to Lu Pan. Probably because of this divine intervention in their trade, the Cantonese Carpenters have a good reputation for quality work and is much sought after by a select clientele. They are known to have had a hand in building the tramways, the docks, railway interiors and interiors of many famous buildings.
Lu Pan: The patron saint of carpenters & Builders
Many centuries ago, the son of a man named Pan lived in the ancient kingdom of Lu in modern Shantung District, hence the name Lu Pan. By the time he was 40, he became the most well known carpenter in his day. He then took up the study of alchemy and became so good at it that he got the reputation of having miraculous powers.
From repairing the pillars of Heaven which were on the verge of collapse to building a palace for the Queen Mother to making a wooden kite on which he could fly (like the Wright brothers), Lu Pan acquired a formidable reputation. Carpenters in Canton therefore looked to Lu Pan as their role model and indeed he was a worthy master to worship. Lu Pan had such powers that he did not die but was said to have simply vanished into the sky leaving behind his axe and saw. He remains an inspiration for construction workers, carpenters and builders. Before starting any major project, they offer their prayers to Lu Pan and pray for inspiration in their work. On Sifutaan, all Cantonese carpenters and builders remember and pray for Lu Pan-like skills in their trade. In the evening, they all gather together for a community meal.