Temple to hold virtual activities for festival

All lit up. Thousands of lanterns illuminate the Thean Hou Temple for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. While the temple is usually open to the public, it has closed its doors due to the MCO. - GLENN GUAN/The Star

THERE may not be any visitors at the iconic Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur this Chinese New Year, but this has not stopped the temple authorities from going all out to celebrate the festival.

Known for its spectacular red lantern displays and other cultural events during the Chinese New Year period, this year will certainly be a departure from previous ones.

However, Selangor and Federal Territory Hainan Association president Datuk Dr CY Tang assured that it would still be a meaningful occasion.

As the temple is closed to visitors, he said many of the scheduled activities would take place virtually. “The ‘Welcoming the God of Prosperity’, lamp-lighting ceremony and chanting of sutras by the masters will be live-streamed,” he said.

As an upbeat way to usher in the festival, the association, which manages Thean Hou Temple, has decked out the temple to keep the annual tradition alive.

The theme this year — “Turning over a Niu Leaf” — fits the positive energy they hope to instil.

One of the highlights is a 1,600sq ft artificial yellow padi field amid a kampung setting that is meant to symbolise a good harvest in the Year of the Ox.

A rustic attap house, two buffaloes and a farmer complete the picturesque scene.

Instead of its usual lunar new year performances such as lion dance and fireworks display, other activities will be conducted virtually or at a later date.

In previous years, some 150,000 visitors would throng the temple in the weeks leading up to and throughout the 15-day celebration.

One section would feature the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac while others would incorporate various cultural elements associated with the celebration.

While the temple would stay closed during the movement control order period, Tang assured that the unique displays would remain for an extended period.

“Hopefully, people will be able to visit when it is safer to do so,” he said.

For details, visit www.hainannet.com.my

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