Nine days of joy expected at temple celebration in October

EACH year, a festive mood prevails in Hong Kong Street, Penang, as thousands of devotees visit the Tow Boh Keong Temple to celebrate the Kew Ong Yeah (Nine Emperor Gods) Festival.

This year’s nine-day festival kicks off on Oct 20. There will be a procession of 93 floats following an 8km route starting from 6pm on Oct 22.

Organising chairman Datuk Seri Choot Ewe Seng said this year’s float procession would mark the temple’s 175th anniversary and it would be the biggest so far.

“Devotees will visit this temple to offer prayers and seek blessings over the nine days,” he said at a recent press conference.

The procession will be flagged off by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Another highlight will be a concert at 8pm on Oct 27 in memory of Penang-born singer Lee Yee who died in 1980 after a car accident in Kuala Lumpur.

State Tourism Development Committee chairman Danny Law Heng Kiang, who was also present, said the festival would be a good opportunity for all to experience Penang’s uniqueness.

The festival, which falls annually on the first day of the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, is dedicated to the nine sons of Tou Mu or Goddess of the North Star, who is said to control the books of life and death.

Her sons, deified as jen huang (human sovereigns), are said to have the ability to cure sickness and bestow luck and wealth.

Devotees will observe a strict vegetarian diet for the entire festival period.

On the final day of the festival on Oct 28, a farewell ceremony to send off the deities will be held along Weld Quay.

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