GEORGE TOWN: A deity at an ancient temple here has predicted that Penang’s economy in the Year of the Fire Rooster will be average.
The prediction by deity Cheng Chooi Chor Soo Kong of the 197-year-old Hock Hin Keong (Ban Ka Lan Snake Temple) in Bayan Lepas was made during the annual Chneah Hoay (flame-watching ceremony) at midnight yesterday.
Held to mark the deity’s birthday, it is a practice at the ceremony for the deity to make the prediction based on the stability, brightness and strength of three flames during the ritual. Each flame represents a four-month cycle.
Cheng Hoe Seah chairman Teoh Hock Guan said the deity predicted that the economy would be at its best in the first four months of the year.
“That flame was steadier and stronger,” he told reporters after the ceremony.
He said the second flame was slightly smaller while the third, representing the period from September to December, had the least strength.
Penang Hokkien Kongsi public officer Datuk Tan Lye Hock said that based on his experience in flame-watching for more than 20 years, the result was quite rare.
Thousands of devotees thronged the temple to pay homage to the deity before the ceremony started.
Many also gathered to watch the flames when the urn was moved to the main altar at 11.55pm on Wednesday.
Earlier, the crowd was entertained with performances such as a snake dance, phoenix and dragon dance, and an acrobatic display.
Other highlights were a rooster and centipede performance and an activity called “Warrior Drums on the Platform of Great Wall”.
Also present were state exco members Danny Law Heng Kiang and Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, Hokkien Kongsi chairman Tan Kok Chye, organising chairman Cheah Cheng Ean and Penang Gerakan vice-chairman Oh Tong Keong.