The Jade Emperor Temple

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The Jade Emperor Temple at the foot of Penang Hill.

During the ninth day of the Chinese New Year, Chinese Hokkien people will be celebrating the birthday of the Jade Emperor. This day is also known as the Hokkien people’s new year, and has its origin back during the Song Dynasty where Chinese Hokkien refugees were saved from being caught and killed by the Mongols on the same day of the Jade Emperor’s birthday. Hence, as gratitude and believing that the Jade Emperor had saved them, the Hokkien people soon marked this day as an important festival to be celebrated.

Most Chinese in Penang are Hokkiens, so this day is usually celebrated more widely (and ‘loudly’) here than the first day of Chinese New Year.

Prayers for the Jade Emperor

Jade Emperor Prayers

The Chinese Hokkien community would be celebrating the birthday of the Jade Emperor, or Thnee Kong Seh, today at 12am — the ninth day of the Chinese lunar calendar. As the clock strikes 12 midnight, the celebration would be kicking off with prayers often accompanied by the sound of firecrackers and offerings to the Jade Emperor. For the local Hokkiens here, this day is in fact celebrated even more extravagantly than the first day of Chinese New Year and is also known as the Hokkien New Year.

Penang Isle: Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple

The Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple (or Poh Hock Seah), is a clan temple of the Hokkien people in Penang who had their roots from the Southern Fujian Province in China. The temple is located right at the corner of Armenian Street and Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling junction.

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