News and Events

Hokkien Chinese New Year

 

The Jade Emperor’s birthday or Festival of the Heavenly God is celebrated by the Chinese community, particularly the Hokkiens, on the ninth day of the Lunar New Year.

Offerings at home for the Jade Emperror

 

Tuesday February 19, 2013 - The Star, Malaysia


New Year begins for Hokkiens

BRIGHT sunshine tore through the morning sky — much to the delight of the Hokkien community in Penang after a heavy downpour that had caused a delay to the start of the Thnee Kong Seh (Jade Emperor God’s birthday) celebrations the night before.

The 108-year-old Thnee Kong Tnua (Jade Emperor God Pavilion) in Air Itam was a hive of activities with devotees particularly from the Hokkien clan presenting their offerings to the deity.

Thousands of devotees thronged the temple, which is located at the foothill of Penang Hill in Air Itam, to celebrate the Jade Emperor God’s birthday.

Finance executive Tan Yin Cheen, 30, said she came to pray for peace and harmony.

“I came with my parents and we would come yearly to celebrate the Jade Emperor’s birthday.

“We prayed at our home on Sunday before coming here to offer our prayers,” Tan said, adding that she had been coming to the temple for more than 20 years.

Tan said her family offered a variety of offerings such as fruits, Thnee Kong kim (gold for the God of Heaven) and other prayer paraphernalia to the Jade Emperor.

“We spent more than RM100 every year for the celebration,” Tan added when met at the temple yesterday.

Other offerings spotted on the temple’s altar were bee koe (sweet glutinous rice), ang koo (bean paste cakes), mee koo (red tortoise buns) and roast chicken.

After offering prayers, some devotees were seen touching the dragon statue located at the entrance to the temple.

A Hakka devotee Wong Kim Hong, in her 50s, said that it was believed that by touching the dragon, which is one of the auspicious Chinese zodiac animals, this would bring peace and good luck to the family.

The Jade Emperor’s birthday is celebrated by the Chinese community, particularly the Hokkiens, on the ninth day of the Lunar New Year.

According to legend, the Hokkiens survived persecution in ancient China by seeking refuge in a sugar cane plantation on Chinese New Year for nine consecutive days.

On the Jade Emperor’s birthday, they came out unharmed and believed that they were protected by the deity. The Hokkiens have since regarded it as their real New Year.

At the Chew Jetty in Weld Quay on Sunday night, thousands of devotees and tourists turned up to observe the annual event.

The devotees who came were not deterred by the rain, which lasted for more than three hours, but instead were thankful for the cool weather.

A 20m-long altar set up on the main road in front of the jetty was sparse at first due to the rain but as midnight approached, offerings such as roast pigs, ang koo, mee koo, huat kuih (prosperous cakes), t’ng tak (sugar pagodas), fruits, roast duck and roast chicken were laid out.

The residents living in Weld Quay also set up altars in front of their shophouses.

Tan Hor Chai, 53, a prawn fritters stall owner, said his family had been celebrating the occasion since the days of his grandfather.

From midnight onwards, the sky was lit up with fireworks, which went on for several hours.

Chris Bryan, 64, and his wife Judy, 60, from England, were among those taking photographs of the colourful event.

“It is amazing. We’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Judy.

Before midnight, thousands of devotees had thronged the Thnee Kong Thnuah.

Devotees arrived as early as 8pm for their annual pilgrimage up to the upper section of the pavilion to pay homage to the deity despite of the downpour.

Source: thestar.com HERE

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