Singapore's The Nine Emperor Gods' Festival is one of the most unusual ethnic festivals. The Nine Emperor Gods' Festival is not a very popular festival for many Singaporeans.
Devotees belonging to the sect called the Jiu Wang Yeh celebrate The Nine Emperor Gods' Festival in a few temples lying outside the town. The Kiu Ong Yiah Temple also Known as The Nine Emperor Gods' Temple on the upper Serangoon Road is the most popular place for the devotees to celebrate The Nine emperor Gods' Festival
Significance of the Nine Emperor Gods' Festival
The Jiu Huang Ye sect is basically committed to the Queen of Heaven also known as Tien Hou, The North-Star and Tou Mu who as the legend goes controls both life and death.
The Nine Emperor Gods are the Queen's nine sons who it is believed are the Gods of health, wealth and prosperity. The festival is celebrated mostly in southern China's Guangdong and Fujian provinces.
Singapore is home to almost 80% of the Chinese population whose ancestry can be traced back to either the Guangong or Fujian province of Southern china and so this ancient ritual is still followed outside the din and bustle of the hip city. The old temple at the Upper Serangoon area is the most sacred place for the Jiu Huaang Ye sect. The temple is adorned with embroidered bright banners glorifying the mystical and miraculous capabilities and powers possessed by the Queen and her nine sons.
In 2003 the Kiu Ong Yiah Temple on the Upper Serangoon Road started gearing up for the festival days in advance. It became a carnival spot on the ninth day of October (i.e. the ninth month in the Chinese calendar),steeped in ethnic traditions and religious sentiments. The traditional Hokkien Opera show was performed by artists in colorful dresses, wearing various ornaments .The smell of the incense sticks burnt by the devotees flocking in the temple pervades the entire temple ambience. The climax of the festival reaches on the 9th day when it is the custom to entertain all the nine Gods before sending them off to the river, i.e. the place where they were received before the beginning of the festival. Devotees wearing white shirts lift heavy chairs amid loud shouts of "Tian Gong Wan Sui" when the sedan chairs all of a sudden began rocking and jerking wildly as if under the influence of some superhuman power. It was a highly charged atmosphere with the dragon and the lion-dancers performing feats to the Gods accompanied with the beating of the drums and the sound of the cymbals and gongs.
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