Today marks the birthday of the Jade Emperor deity.
During the Chinese New Year’s 15-days period in Penang, the celebration for the birthday of the Jade Emperor will fall on the 9th lunar day of Chinese New Year. This day is particularly celebrated a lot by the Hokkien community in Penang and is also commonly referred to as the Hokkien New Year. There will be lots of prayers, food offerings and various festivities held for the Jade Emperor on this day. Two popular areas in Penang where this day is celebrated are the Jade Emperor Pavilion temple at Ayer Itam and the Clan Jetties area at Weld Quay, George Town.
The 8.3 meters tall effigy of the King of Hades (or Tai Su Yeah) where devotees offered prayers to, during the 7th lunar month of the Chinese calendar in conjunction with The Hungry Ghost month.
This giant effigy was placed under a shelter beside a temple at Market Street of Bukit Mertajam old town, for 15 days until the annual Bukit Mertajam Phor Thor (Hungry Ghost Festival) celebration. The effigy will then be moved out to the street and burned on the festival day.
According to the Taoist belief, when the gates of hell open in the 7th lunar month, spirits would be freed to the living world while being watched by Tai Su Yeah. The Hungry Ghost Festival this year started from August 14 until September 12.
Lion dance on stilts performance (by youths) during Chinese New Year (CNY) festival in George Town.
Lion dance performers with their new lions getting blessing from the Kuan Yin temple in George Town before the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year.
A lions ‘eye-dotting’ ritual and ceremony organized by Penang Wushu Lion & Dragon Dance Association. Most lions found in Penang are of the Southern Lions design and style.
“A new lion usually undergoes an eye-dotting ritual which gives the lion its ‘spirit’, because it must be brought to life and filled with a spirit through a religious ceremony. This is most of the times by a Taoist ceremony but it can be performed by any person with a high social status. The areas to be dotted with red pigment called “Zhu Sha” are the eye, ears ,nose, horn, feet, and the body; usually only the eyes are done in a public ceremony. The light in its eyes resembles that the lion’s eyes have been opened with a spirit and the shield reflects the good light from the heavens, although other explanations can be given for the mirror.”
In conjunction with the Thaipusam Festival, today is a public holiday in Penang. Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community annually.
On the last weekend, September 13 to 15, George Town hosted the 6th Malaysia Tua Pek Kong festival which was organized by the Poh Hock Seah temple community. There was also a Tua Pek Kong Procession with over 50 decorated floats from China, Taiwan, Myanmar, Indonesia, Macau and from East Malaysia too, held on 14th September. A similar procession was also held some years back.
Tua Pek Kong or Twa Peh Kong was reportedly a man named Zhang Li from the Hakka clan. His Sumatra-bound boat was struck by wind and accidentally landed on Penang island of Malaysia, which at that time had only 50 inhabitants. After his death, the local people began worshipping him and built the Tua Pek Kong temple there.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is an official harvest festival celebrated widely by the local Chinese here. The festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar during a full moon.