Thousands pay homage to Jade Emperor

Imperial spread: Devotees laying their various traditional offerings on the lengthy altar table at Chew Jetty for the colourful celebration of food and faith. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: A drizzle failed to deter devotees who made a beeline for the Jade Emperor’s birthday celebration at the century-old Chew Jetty in Weld Quay here.

Devotees laid a majestic feast on the 36.5m-long makeshift altar with their platters of offerings.

Roast suckling pigs, chickens, ducks, thnee kong kuih (peach-shaped cakes), ang koo (red glutinous tortoise cakes), huat kuih (pink prosperity cakes), ngor siew th’ng (pink pagoda-shaped candies), bee koe (sweet glutinous rice) and pineapples lined the altar.

Many also brought along stalks of leafy sugar canes as a symbol of gratitude as legend has it that the Hokkiens survived prosecution by hiding in a sugarcane plantation during Chinese New Year for nine days in ancient China.

Thousands of devotees started arriving as early as 7pm for the annual fest which culminated at midnight with a fireworks display to mark the birthday of the Jade Emperor on the ninth day of Chinese New Year.

Many nearby Hokkien households also observed the event by presenting offerings on an altar set up in front of their homes.

Also present at the event were Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, state MCA deputy chairman Tan Teik Cheng and state Barisan Nasional chairman Teng Chang Yeow.

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