Dragon ship ready for ancestors

  • Metro News
  • Tuesday, 20 Aug 2019

Volunteers posing with the dragon-shaped paper ship (Say Hong Chun) at Sian Chye Tong Temple in Ayer Itam, Penang.

A DRAGON-SHAPED paper ship and an effigy of the King of Hades (Tai Su Yeah) will be burnt in a final ritual to send off departed loved ones to mark the seventh lunar month celebration.

The ceremony will take place on Saturday night at the Sian Chye Tong Temple at 395, Hye Keat Estate, Ayer Itam, Penang.

This will be the last day of the temple’s Filial Piety Celebration (Cheow Thor) which began on Aug 1.

Temple youth section chairman Loh Choon Teik said the paper ship (Say Hong Chun) is 6.1m long, 1.83m wide and 4.88m high.

“It was made by our youths, who took about a month to complete it.

“The framework of the ship is made of bamboo and cardboard while the exterior is covered with more than 8, 000 pieces of folded ‘Ong Seng Jee’ (joss paper with sutras imprinted).

“The ship will be filled with folded Ong Seng Jee and other joss paper.

“The design, shape and structure of the ship have been improvised with a dragon head and tail to make it look more impressive, just like an emperor’s ship.

“As for the effigy of Tai Su Yeah, it is touted to be the only such design in the state which is made of Ong Seng Jee.

“The effigy, which is 3.96m tall and 1.52m wide, is made of bamboo and cardboard.

“It will have 3, 000 pieces of Ong Seng Jee on it, ” he said adding that five youth members took two weeks to complete the figurine.

Loh said that paper tablets bearing the names of the deceased and the date which they died would be placed in front of a beautifully decorated Amitabha Buddha’s altar during the ‘Cheow Thor’ celebration for daily offerings and chanting.

“This celebration is significant to all living descendants to show their gratitude as well as filial piety towards their departed ancestors and loved ones.

“During this celebration, living descendants will make offerings (Dana).

“Prayers are held to accrue meritorious deeds for the departed ones in order to attain speedy rebirth.

Twenty Sangha members will be invited to recite prayers for the ancestors on Friday at 7pm.

The ceremony will include the offering of robes (Sanghikadana) to Sangha members, Loh added.

Temple religious advisor Venerable Seck Chin Sooi as well as other monks and nuns will conduct day-long chanting and prayers on Saturday and all the paper tablets will be placed in the ‘Say Hong Chun’ and burnt.

“The ‘Say Hong Chun’ represents Amitabha Buddha’s effort to ferry the deceased to Buddha Pure Land for repentance and rebirth, ” he said.

During the celebration, there will be food offerings as well as burning of incense and joss paper for the visiting spirits of departed loved ones.

Vegetarian food will be served on Saturday at 7pm.

Those interested in participating in the Cheow Thor can call the temple (04-828 3296) or Linda (010-337 2747).

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