Around 1727, the Chinese migrants in Cholon, 提岸, today’s Ho Chin Minh, Vietnam, founded the Erfu temple and clan association. These migrants came from Quanzhou 泉州 and Zhangzhou 漳州 in Fujian 福建, China.
The Hokkiens were minorities amongst the Vietnam overseas Chinese community as most of them were Cantonese and Teochew. Therefore, the Hokkien migrants from Quanzhou and Zhangzhou combined their resources to build a common clan association and temple.
Their temple is dedicated to Fude Zheng Shen, 福德正神. The central door leads to visitor to the shrine of the deity while the side doors leads visitors to the clan associations.
The clan association fulfilled their social and cultural needs and was a place for the migrants to seek mutual support. These functions of Er Fu clan association and temple have served the Hokkien community for more than two centuries and continue to do so today
Erfu Clan association / temple in the 21th century
Every year, on the 2nd day of the Chinese New Year, families visit the Erfu Temple to celebrate the New Year. They also return to celebrate Yuan Xiao, 元宵, the last day of the Chinese New Year. Mid autumn, 中秋节 is another busy time when the festival is celebrated in the Erfu Temple.
The clan association has a bursary and scholarship to support the education of children from financially challenged families. They also provide financial support and basic food necessities to the elderly who have no one to look after them. On their birthdays, the clan association presents them with a red packet, birthday noodles, and eggs.
The Erfu Temple also supports another Quanzhou culture heritage – Nanyin music, 南音. They have a collection of Nanyin musical instruments and a group of elderly Nanyin experts. To preserve and to retransmit this art form to the next generation, they have begun recruiting young talents.
Because of this exercise, the Nanyin group has a mix of senior experts and new learners and their Nanyin performances often attract large number of audiences.
Erfu Temple and Clan Association shows the close relationship between clan associations and temples. The temple and clan association offer the community a “full package” of social, cultural, and religious services and have served the community for almost three centuries.