KUALA LUMPUR: The Thean Hou temple was abuzz with anticipation and joy as devotees waited to usher in the Year of the Pig.
Crowds swelled to the thousands on Chinese New Year Eve as devotees made their way there to pray for blessings in the new year.
Red lanterns all over the temple and paper-cutting decorations also did not fail to boost the festive mood.
Some devotees were also seen gathering at a section of the temple that featured the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac where they admired and took pictures with their respective zodiac animals.
Devotees were equally amazed at a fireworks display which went off at midnight to usher in the new Lunar Year.
Many also did not miss the chance to bring home a golden figurine of the pig, which is the last animal in the Chinese Zodiac, in the hopethat it will bring them prosperity for days to come.
Housewife Elaine Tham was among the many devotees seen carrying home the figurine on a small red tray complete with red packets, sweets and mandarin oranges.
“I make it a point to come to the temple every Chinese New Year to pray for our well-being for the coming year. It is a very important part of the celebration for us,” the 40-year-old said.
Accompanied by her husband, 38-year-old businessman Johnny Hiew, Tham said she has renewed hope in the new year.
“I think many of us have been through some challenges and difficulties in the past year but we hold on to hope for things to turn out for the better.
“For me and my family, we hope the Year of the Pig brings us happiness and health and that my husband’s business would prosper,” she said.
Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai also graced the celebrations and shared his hope for the new year.
“Let use unite together this Chinese New Year Eve and make a resolution for a Malaysia that is famous for a good government that is of high integrity and moral standing and not a country of corruption and abuse of power,” said Tan who is also DAP chairman.
The event also recognised the efforts by the Selangor and Federal Territory Hainan Association for spreading understanding for Chinese culture when it was presented with certificates from the Malaysia Book of Records for the longest distance “Mazu Culture” Entourage and for being the first association to launch the “Mazu Culture” set of stamps.
In October last year, the association travelled a total of 245km from the temple to Sekinchan bringing an idol representing Mazu, the Chinese Goddess of the Sea and back again via Sungai Besar.