Penang devotees celebrate Nine Emperor Gods Festival after two-year hiatus

Kwok and his family at the entrance to the Tow Boe Keong Kew Ong Tai Tay Temple in Gat Lebuh Macallum in George Town, Penang.

GEORGE TOWN: After a two-year hiatus, devotees are happy that they finally get to participate in procession on the last day of the Nine Emperor Gods or Kew Ong Yeah festival.

Despite the drizzle, entrepreneur Kwok Yew Loon, 41, lined up to enter the Tow Boe Keong Kew Ong Tai Tay Temple in Gat Lebuh Macallum in George Town.

"I am here with my family. This is the second time my three-year-old son Kwok Tian Lok participated in the festival.

"He enjoyed the lion and dragon dance performances.

"I observed a nine-day vegetarian diet whereas my son only went on a vegetarian diet on the last day," he said.

The devotees who came mostly dressed in white, knelt down and offered prayers.

Each year, the Nine Emperor Gods Festival is celebrated from the first to the ninth day of the ninth lunar month.

The festival began on Sept 26 and ends on Wednesday (Oct 4).

Observed by Taoists, it is dedicated to the nine sons of Tou Mu, the Goddess of the North Star, who is believed to control the Books of Life and Death.

During this period, devotees will follow a strict vegetarian diet, with some even observing it for an extra day.

Devotees believe the gods came through the waterway and processions are usually held from temples to the river or seashore as a symbolic gesture.

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