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
Various images showing the many heritage buildings and major places of worship in the city of George Town. As part of its recognition to be accorded with the World Heritage status, July 7th is designated as George Town World Heritage Day and it is also a state holiday here in Penang.
Like every Chinese or Lunar New Year, the famous Kek Lok Si temple complex will be lighted up during the nights of the festive period in Penang. Throngs of visitors will be going up the hill temple to marvel at the display of the lights.