GEORGE TOWN: The overall economy for Penang in the Year of the Fire Rooster will be average.
The Tua Pek Kong (God of Prosperity) made the forecast during the annual Chneah Hoay (flame-watching) ceremony at Hai Choo Soo Temple in Tanjung Tokong.
The ritual began at 11.45pm on Friday after the tide covered the biggest boulder at the bay fronting the temple.
The temple’s lights were switched off and oil lamps and candles snuffed out to enable Poh Hock Seah Temple committee members to scrutinise the flames.
Then cymbals clashed and embers in the deity’s urn were kindled.
The first flame was successfully ignited at 12.07am yesterday, followed by the second one at 12.11am and the last flame at 12.15am.
The prediction is based on the intensity of the three flames with each flame representing a four-month cycle.
Poh Hock Seah Temple vice- president Datuk Tan Lye Hock said the strength of the flames was divided into three levels — good, average and fair.
Tan said the strength of the three flames was average.
“However, the overall prediction this year is better than that for last year,” he said.
Earlier, thousands of devotees thronged the temple for prayers.
A lion dance on stilts, dragon dance and a fireworks display added cheer to the event.
Also present were state Tourism Development Committee chairman Danny Law Heng Kiang and Poh Hock Seah Temple president Datuk Lim Chooi Beng.
The God of Prosperity is said to be able to forecast the state’s economy for the year via flames from burning joss sticks.
Legend has it that the deity will also come out to meet other resident deities of various areas on the 14th day of Chinese New Year.