Devotees offer prayers at the Poh Hock Seah Chneah Hoay celebration at Hai Choo Soo temple in Tanjung Tokong, Penang. Starpix/CHAN BOON KAI
GEORGE TOWN: The overall state of the economy in the Year of the Fire Rooster has been forecasted to be average.
The prediction was made by the Tua Pek Kong (God of Prosperity) at the annual Chneah Hoay (flame-watching) ceremony at the Hai Choo Soo temple in Tanjung Tokong early Saturday.
According to tradition, the ritual began after the tide covered the biggest boulder at the bay fronting of the temple.
The temple's lights, oil lamps and candles were put off and the clashing of cymbals began at 11.45pm on Friday (Feb 10) to enable the Poh Hock Seah Temple committee members to scrutinise the intensity of the flames.
The first flame was successfully ignited at 12.07am, followed by the second flame at 12.11am and the last at 12.15am this morning (Feb 11).
The prediction is based on the intensity of the three flames with which the embers in the deity's urn flare up.
Each of the flame represents a four-month cycle.
Poh Hock Seah Temple vice-president Datuk Tan Lye Hock said the strength of the flame is divided into three levels - good, average and fair.
"The fanning of the flame was carried out three times, representing the three period of the Lunar New Year.
"The strength of the flame represents the ups and downs of the three period of the year," he told a press conference after the ceremony.
Tan said first flame represented economic fortunes of the year's first four months, the second flame for the next four months and the third flame for the last four months.
"This Lunar year, the strength of the three flames are average.
"However, the overall prediction for this Lunar year is better than the last Lunar year.
"Although it was forecasted that the state's economy is going to be average throughout this Lunar year, the mid period was predicted to be slightly better than the first and last period," he said.