No procession for Wangkang barge, festival to scale down

MELAKA: The majestic Wangkang barge will not “sail” as scheduled next month due to Covid-19, said the Wangkang organising committee.

Its chairman Datuk Ronald Gan said the procession set for Nov 15 has been postponed indefinitely.

“The committee decided to play their role in curbing the spread of Covid-19. We would like to thank the state government for its support and encouragement, ” he said.

The event will continue on a small scale, using smaller boats to collect “wandering souls”, and prayers at the temple will go on as planned. There will be no burning of the barge but the procession may be set on another date, he said.

For the first time, Wangkang Festival 2020 will include a barge named KD Negara Aman, as the festival attracts spectators of all races.

This year’s event is held in the hope of breaking the jinx responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, by eliminating negative elements through a symbolic ritual, he said.

The Wangkang procession was initiated after a command from the heavens to get rid of the pandemic that plagued the world, he said.

Yong Chuan Tian Temple of Bandar Hilir organised the procession after getting the command from its main deity Ong Yah, who spelled out the order through a medium.

Similar processions were also held in 1919,1933,2001 and 2012. These were the years when epidemic scourges and chaos had plagued the global community, Gan said.

Wangkang Festival is organised to collect wandering souls, evil spirits and other negative elements on the barge before they are sent to another dimension.

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