Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Nine Emperor Gods Festival

Today is the last day of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival. My friend and I went to the Sungei Way Nine Emperor Temple to join in the celebration. A festive-like atmosphere pervades the temple. Devotees thronged the temple during lunch hour when we were there to join in the annual celebration. There was Chinese Opera performance too. The photo above showed one of the actresses offering an incense to the deities before the opera performance began.

Giant coiled incense were burnt as offering to the Gods, seeking their blessing for health, wealth & prosperity.

A tall flag post is erected on the temple compound to hang nine lamps, representing the presence of the Nine Emperor Gods during the festival.

The offering of buns made in the form of tortoise and peaches, symbolizing long life for the devotees were offered to the Gods during this festival. Look at how colorful these buns are.

At the temple during the festival there is also firewalking and blade-ladder climbing. This photo shows the blade-ladder bridge that devotees who practised 9 days of vegetarian diet will walk across. There are sharp bladders facing up on the base of this ladder. I had gotten a close look and they were truly sharp!!

It is believed if one is not on vegetarian diet and attempt to cross this blade-ladder bridge or even the walk over flamed charcoal, one would get injured. Only devout vegetarian followers will pass the test unharmed.


Sourced from Wikipedia:

The Nine Emperor Gods Festival (in Chinese, 九皇爺) is a Chinese festival to celebrate the return from heaven to earth of the Nine Emperor spirits, who are worshiped as one deity known as Mazu (in Chinese, 妈祖/天后), the Taoist goddess of the sea and queen of heaven who represents health, wealth and prosperity. The festival falls on the ninth day of the ninth moon in the Chinese lunar calendar. Devotees flock to temples throughout the country for the festival.

The Nine Emperor Gods are part of a spirit-medium cult known locally as Jieu Hwang Yeh. These nine deities are believed to dwell in the stars in heaven under the reign of Mazu.

On the eve of the ninth moon, temples of the deities hold a ceremony to invoke and welcome the nine emperors. Since the arrival of the gods are believed to be through the waterways, processions are held from temples to the sea-shore or river to symbolize this belief. Devotees dressed in traditional white, carrying incense and candles, await the arrival of their excellencies.

During this period of time, the constant tinkling of a prayer bell and chants from the temple priests are heard. Most devotees stay at the temple, eat vegetarian meals and recite continuous chanting of prayer. It is believed that there will be rain (based on my experience: this is very true, as it has been raining everyday recently) throughout the nine days of celebration.

The ninth day of the festival is its climax. In the evening, there would be firewalking by devotees who have been vegetarian during the nine days of the celebration. It will end with a procession which draws scores of devotees sending the deities back home (a waterway such as river or sea).

1 comment:

Tau Sar Phneah said...

hey there, i was browsing around for nine emperor celebration photos and found least i know how you guys celebrate in subang...

check out mine then...

TauSarPhneah :)

"Use your first smile, your first form of generosity, of love, of kindness—use it at home; start at home. And if there is something left over—if … your plate is just full of abundance of patience and goodness and smiles and joy, then by all means, you should go … and offer that to others. But we must begin at home." by Dr Robin Smith