Interesting procession for the Nine Emperor Gods Festival last night.
Nine Emperor Gods Festival (九皇爺) is a nine-day Taoist celebration beginning on the eve of 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar. I remembered that few years ago when I search for information regarding this festival, there isn’t much info available online. Recently, when I do a Google search again, I’m surprised that this festival even has its own Wikipedia page already. That’s good.
There is a temple not far from my house in Ampang which is famous for celebrating this festival and so there is a tradition in my family to worship and celebrate this festival for almost every year. However, the last time I have been to watch the procession to welcome the Nine Emperors was like many years ago and so I’m actually quite excited when I get to watch it back this year. That was last night which is the eve of the 9th lunar month in Chinese calendar. Me rushing to go back home yesterday after work is paid off with an opportunity to watch a grand and an interesting procession.
The procession actually started much earlier to ‘receive’ the arrival of the Gods from waterways. Hence, it began from the temple to the Ampang river. After the Gods arrived, the procession will be conducted in a much happening mood to welcome and bring the Gods back to the temple. That’s when spectators will line up the street to watch it as it is a good sign to bring luck and good things to one’s life. We were lucky to have arrived nearby there before 9pm and was able to find parking eventhough we were a bit far away. We had a nice spot to stand in the midst of thousand of people already there and by the time we were ready to wait, the procession arrived. Here are some images I took during the procession:
Pictures still blurry despite captured by an iPhone 5. Well, the lighting is dim over there and hence picture quality won’t be good. There were also a lot of movements, hence images not focused. This time, there were quite a lot of lion dances. However, the obvious things missing is the lack of decorated vehicles as well as the famous ‘Kou Keuk Chat’ (the Seven Long-Legged Gods or something like that). And to compensate that, the procession included a number of people dressed in cute and bulky costumes resembling many Gods like ‘God of Fortune’, etc which is certainly a surprising view for me who have not seen this kind of stuff before in this annual procession. The procession lasted about 20 minutes.
A carnival-like atmosphere pervades the temple throughout the nine-day festival. Most devotees stay at the temple, eat vegetarian meals and recite continuous chanting of prayer. The street leading up to the temple is also filled with many hawker stalls, attracting also the youngsters and the scene is just like a bustling ‘pasar malam’. It is believed that there will be rain throughout the nine days of celebration. And yes…it is really raining in these days. My family and I would be going to the temple again this Sunday to pray and burn joss-sticks for the Nine Emperor Gods before the festival ends next Wednesday when the deities will be sent back to the river to mark the end of the celebration.
(Copyrights reserved to all the images in this post)