Scenes from the Penang Thaipusam festival. During the festival, the breaking of the coconuts is a ritual practiced by Hindus as an act of cleansing and also to symbolize the renounce of one’s ego at the feet of the presiding deity Lord Muruga (usually carried on a chariot).
Located on the outskirt area of Bukit Mertajam, which is called Machang Bubok, Hai Dong Ma Temple is a Taoist temple dedicated for the worship of Chinese deity Thean Hou (also popularly known as Mazu). The temple compound also houses various Chinese mythical beings statues including a set of Chinese animal zodiacs.
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 Cantonese Tua Pek Kong Temple located along King Street of George Town’s Heritage Zone is an old Taoist temple was built by the local Chinese communities during 18th century. Tua Pek Kong, literally “Grand Uncle”, is worshiped as the god of prosperity by the Chinese.
These few days mark the period of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Penang. Widely observed by Chinese people in Penang during a period of nine days, those who are participating in the festival dress all in white and will have abstinent from eating meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products. The above temple is located at the Macallum Street Ghaut, George Town.
For the larger Nine Emperor Gods temple located in Butterworth, Penang, please go HERE.
A fishing village at Batu Maung, Penang. The temple to the legendary Admiral Cheng Ho is also located at the shore, overlooking the village. Admiral Cheng Ho is commonly known as Sam Poh Kong by the locals here, and worshipped as a deity by fishermen.
The ‘Tua Pek Kong” grand float procession was held by the management of Poh Hock Seah in 2010, the last of such event was held back in 1998. The procession was held once every 12 years (during the Tiger year of the Chinese zodiac).
Tua Pek Kong is one of the pantheon of Malaysian Chinese Gods. It was believed that Tua Pek Kong arrived in Penang 40 years before Francis Light’s arrival.