GEORGE TOWN: For a while, rain threatened to disrupt the Jade Emperor’s birthday celebration of the Weld Quay Chew Jetty community here.
But devotees were evidently used to it, with many saying it tended to rain on the eve of the celebration.
At 9pm yesterday, the drizzle finally tapered off and with speedy efficiency, devotees trooped out with trays and baskets laden with offerings and laid them on the 35m-long altar along the roadside.
Within 30-minutes after the rain, the altar was filled with roast suckling pigs, chickens, ducks, rice wine, ang koo (bean paste cake), mee koo (red tortoise bun), huat kuih (prosperity cake), roasted meat and fruits along with the must-have stalks of sugar cane.
Other items like the thnee kong kim (pineapple-shaped ‘gold’ for the God of Heaven), ngor siew th’ng (pink pagoda-shaped candy) and thnee kong poh (offerings folded in ‘gold’ paper) were also offered in the festival also known as the Hokkien New Year.
Customer service executive Loke Hui Wen, 25, with boyfriend Choo Jun How, 26, made their offerings on the altar for the first time.
Choo, from Kuala Lumpur, said they used to do their prayers at home, but this time they wanted to participate in the festival.
“We prayed for good luck, health, wealth and a successful year ahead,” he said while busily arranging their offerings on the altar.
Danish tourist Minna Midtgaard, 38, was awed by the commotion.
“I googled for events in the state and this festival came up, so I came to check it out and I’m totally blown away.
“When I came here, Thaipusam was going on and now this. Penang is full of celebrations!” Midtgaard exclaimed. She was here for a month-long holiday.
Everyone was entertained by lion dance on high stilts, war drum performers and cultural dances, sponsored by the state government.
At the stroke of midnight, fireworks lit the night sky, marking the deity’s birthday on the ninth day of the Lunar New Year.
Earlier, devotees participated in a procession featuring a dragon boat float carrying a consecrated statue of Jade Emperor from the jetty through the floating temple near Yeoh Jetty, Malay Street, Beach Street and Chulia Street before heading back.
The Jade Emperor’s statue was later placed on an ornate wooden altar at the entrance of Chew Jetty for the night’s prayers.
Joining in the festivities were Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Penang MCA chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng, MCA Youth leader Michael Lee Beng Seng, party secretary Dr Tan Chuan Hong, Komtar MCA task force chief Tan Hing Teik, Padang Kota MCA task force chief Lim Swee Bok, Penang Barisan Nasional chairman Teng Chang Yeow and Penang Gerakan vice-chairman Oh Tong Keong.
Also present was DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.
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