Wearing the dress of the hundred families. Peh-kia-i. Chinese superstitions.
Connected with what has been just stated on wearing the habit of a bonze, is the custom of begging from door to door a piece of cloth, and with the various and different pieces making a dress for a child, upon whom one wishes to call down the blessing of the gods.
This child is cherished by all, every one considers him as their own, and makes him a present of a dress, how then may people not hope, that he will be preserved through the special protection of the gods or Pu-sahs. Such is the reason which has given rise to this curious custom.
To the same superstition may be attached the one called “the string of the hundred families”, Peh-hia-sien. A person goes round begging a bit of thread from door to door. With these various coloured threads, a kind of tassel is made, and hung on to the dress of the child. The purpose is the same as in the preceding case.
Source: Recherches sur les superstitions en Chine par Henri Doré. Le Panthéon Chinois, Zi-Ka-Wei 1916.