GEORGE TOWN: Penang is expected to enjoy an optimistic and strong economy this year based on the annual Chneah Hoay (flame-watching) ceremony at Hai Choo Soo Temple in Tanjung Tokong.
Poh Hock Seah Temple honorary secretary Lim Hooi Kooi said all three flames ignited during the ceremony were bright and strong, especially the second flame.
“It’s a first in 10 years that we have seen three strong flames, signifying a good economy outlook for Penang.
“The first flame was ignited at 11.58pm, with strong flames while the second one at midnight was even brighter and stronger.
“This means that the four-month cycle from June to September will the best for the state.
“The last flame ignited at 12.02pm also came with bright flames.
“Considering that all the three flames were burning with good intensity, we can foretell that there is good economic outlook in the Year of the Rat, ” he said during a press conference after the ceremony.
During the ceremony, the temple’s committee members observed the strength of the flame when the fanning was carried out three times, each representing a four-month cycle of the year.
The first flame represents the economic fortunes from February to May, followed by the second (June to September) and third (October to January).
Each year, the statue of the Tua Pek Kong deity is brought from the Poh Hock Seah Tua Pek Kong Temple in Lebuh Armenian to the Hai Choo Soo Temple in Tanjung Tokong for the ceremony and returns the next day.
The annual ritual, which began at 11.55pm on Friday attracted many worshipers to see first hand the result of the prediction on the economic situation each year.
Poh Hock Seah Temple president Datuk Lim Chooi Beng said the flame watching ceremony is unique.
“The ceremony has been around for nearly 200 years, ” he said.
Thousands of devotees also thronged the temple to pray for the year, before indulging in hawker fare and enjoying the lion dance performance.