Scenes from Tan Jetty, one of the six clan jetties at the eastern shore of Penang island. As the name suggested, this jetty used to house Chinese immigrants of the Tan surname clan from the Fujian Province in China during the colonial era in the late 19th century.
Today marks the 9th day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which is also a big celebration of the Chinese Hokkien to express their gratitude to the Jade Emperor. It is also known as the Hokkien people’s new year, and in Penang where the majority of Chinese are Hokkiens, it is usually celebrated more widely (and ‘loudly’) than the first day of Chinese Lunar New Year.
It was said that during the Song Dynasty, Chinese Hokkien refugees were saved from being caught and killed by the Mongols on the same day of the Jade Emperor’s birthday after hiding in a sugarcane farm for nine consecutive days.
Hence, as a gratitude and believing that the Jade Emperor had blessed and saved them, the Hokkiens celebrated this occasion by offering prayers (usually including sugarcane too) to the Jade Emperor.
Kek Lok Si Temple, for the first time, will be broadcasting its lighting ceremony virtually today via Facebook for the coming Chinese New Year. This is due to the current Movement Control Order which is put in place across the country till 18 February, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virtual ceremony will start at 7pm today (GMT+8, 7 February) and those interested, can watch the virtual ceremony here: LINK