THE lighted Khoo Kongsi temple at dusk will make a magnificent backdrop for 19 couples who are celebrating their nuptials there on the night of the Mooncake Festival on Oct 6.
Among the pairs, who hail from various parts of the northern region, are two grooms from the Khoo clan.
Taiping-born Khoo Guan Lung travelled all the way to the clan house in Penang for more details after learning about the mass wedding through a newspaper advertisement.
“I got interested because it is very meaningful and memorable to hold the wedding at the ancestral temple where my great grandfather’s tablet is placed at the ancestral hall,” said Guan Lung, 26, who manages his father’s petrol station in Taiping. His future wife, Heng Yan Jun, 21, is the secretary at the station.
Although most on his father’s side of the family reside in Taiping while some of his mother’s relatives are in Pe-nang, Guang Lung said the family had been enjoying the Khoo clan benefits in the form of education aid.
His younger brother and sister, who both graduated from a college in Penang, and many of his cousins were previous recipients of the aid.
Guang Lung, who is the eldest and the first among three siblings to get married, stands to receive an ang pow from the clan if he informs the administration and verifies his clan membership.
Another clansman, Khoo Beng Meng, 36, from Penang, was also attracted by the prospect of getting hitched at the famous temple where the tablets of his late father and forefathers are placed.
“I initially planned to just get my wedding photos taken at the temple but when I saw the wedding package which included photography and also a dinner at the temple, I found it irresistible,” said Beng Meng, a retail manager.
The package from the France Taipei bridal house in Penang also included a pair of diamond rings, two-night and three-day stay at the E&O Hotel, a slimming corset for the bride and electrical appliances, among others.
Beng Meng, who met his sweetheart Winnie Ooi two years ago, said their actual wedding and tea ceremony would be on Nov 26.
“The mass wedding is just something extra for the experience and memory’s sake. It is not very often that one can get married in such a grand manner together with so many couples in front of one’s ancestral temple,” he said.
Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi vice-president Datuk Seri Khoo Keat Siew said clansmen who are getting married would receive an ang pow gift of RM120 if they paid homage to the temple’s patron saint through a simple joss-stick offering.
Until the early 1970s, he said, wedding tea receptions were held at the temple base- ment which is now the clan museum.
“It is a good idea to organise a mass wedding as part of the clan’s centenary celebration for the temple and it is hoped that this will be the forerunner for more such occasions,” he said.
Trustee Khoo Chin Hock, 75, remembered the nyonya kuih, tea and soft drinks served during the tea reception on his wedding at the temple in 1960.
“There were about 100 guests and my wife and I were attired in Western gown and suit,” said Chin Hock who re-gistered his marriage twice – once officially at the registration department and another for the clan’s record.
On the coming mass wedding on Oct 6, France Taipei manager Anne Lee said the 19 couples would take part in a morning trishaw parade from the bridal house on Pangkor Road to the E&O Hotel where they would exchange vows.
The convoy would be led by a school band and a horse-drawn carriage.
In the evening, the convoy would leave the hotel on Farquhar Street towards Khoo Kongsi on Cannon Street for the dinner reception.
“At the dinner, the brides will be wearing modern cheongsam and the groom in Chinese suits specially tailor-made and designed by D&L, one of Malaysia’s top ten designers.
“There will also be a competition to choose the most photogenic couple,” Lee said.
She said the bridal house, which organised a mass wedding involving 18 couples three years ago, was excited to organise another to coincide with the Mooncake Festival and commemorate the centenary celebration of the Khoo temple in December.