The birthday of the Supreme August Jade Emperor, which falls on the 9th day of the first lunar month, is always celebrated grandly by the Hokkien and Teochew communities worldwide.
According to an ancient Chinese folklore, the Hokkiens hid themselves in sugarcane plantations when their lives were threatened by demonic forces or another ethnic group. There were different versions, you see.
While Chinese people from other clans celebrated Spring Festival, Hokkiens were still hiding, until the ninth day of the Lunar New Year. Hence, the Hokkiens only get to celebrate the New Year on that day, which is also the birthday of the Supreme August Jade Emperor.
This incident caused the Hokkiens to believe that they were protected by the Heavenly God (God of Heaven). It was definitely a day of salvation for the Hokkiens.
As you can see, it is also a thanksgiving feast for the Hokkiens, who pray to the Supreme August Jade Emperor with a number of prerequisite items such as a pair of sugar cane plants complete from roots to shoots, glutinous rice, skewered sweets, pineapple-shaped gold, pink pagoda-shaped candy, peach dumpling for longevity, fruits, vegetables and usually roast piglet.
Incidentally, the sugar cane, is pronounced as ‘kam chia’, which sounds like “thank you” (kamsia).
Hokkien households usually set up altars and start to pray to the Supreme August Jade Emperor on the 8th day of the Lunar New Year at 11pm. This is followed by the setting off of red firecrackers at the stroke of midnight. Some would also engage lion dance performers.
Today’s photos were taken from the celebration of the Supreme August Jade Emperor’s birthday at the Tung Wah Tong cave temple on the morning of the 9th day of Spring Festival. It was conducted according to Taoist religious rites.
Tung Wah Tong Temple
Add: Lot No. 26006, Hala Perindustrian Perpaduan 1, Kawasan Perindustrian Perpaduan, 3150 Ulu Kinta, Ipoh, Perak.
GPS Coordinates: N 04 38.537′ E 101 09.444′
Tel: 012-5787748 (Alan) / 016-5186178 (Chang)
Event: Celebrating the Birthday of Supreme August Jade Emperor
Venue: Tung Wah Tong Temple, Ipoh
Date: 8th Feb, 2014
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