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Tuesday February 19, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday April 17, 2013 MYT 12:02:07 PM
<b>Seeking blessings:</b> Devotees praying at the Thnee Kong Tnua temple in Air Itam.
GEORGE TOWN: Thousands of devotees thronged the 108-year-old Thnee Kong Tnua temple in Air Itam here after a downpour delayed the start of the Jade Emperor God's birthday celebrations the night before.
The temple, located at the foot of the Penang Hill, was a hive of activity with devotees, particularly those from the Hokkien community, presenting various offerings to the deity.
Finance executive Tan Yin Cheen, 30, said she came to pray for peace and harmony.
“I come here with my parents every year to celebrate the Jade Emperor's birthday,” said Tan, adding that she had been going to the temple for over 20 years.
Her family, she said, offered fruits, thnee kong kim (paper “gold” ingots) and other prayer items to the deity.
“We spend more than RM100 every year for the occasion,” added Tan.
The Jade Emperor's birthday is celebrated by the Chinese community, particularly the Hokkiens, on the ninth day of the Lunar New Year.
According to legend, the Hokkiens survived persecution in ancient China by seeking refuge in a sugarcane plantation on Chinese New Year for nine consecutive days.
On the Jade Emperor's birthday, they came out unharmed and believed that they were protected by the deity.
At the temple's main altar, devotees lined up offerings, included bee koe (sweet glutinous rice), ang koo (bean paste cake), mee koo (red tortoise buns) and roast chicken.
After their prayers, some devotees made a beeline for the dragon statue adorning the entrance to the temple, which is believed to bring luck to those who touch it.
Wong Kim Hong, in her 50s, said touching the dragon, one of the auspicious animals in the Chinese zodiac, would bring peace and good luck to the family.
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