Thousands of devotees thronged Yoke Wong Thai Tay Temple in Section 21 SEA Park, Petaling Jaya to offer prayer of thanks to Jade Emperor God of Heaven and wish him well, and seek his blessings in return on his birthday celebration on Sunday night 21st February 2010.
The Jade Emperor God celebrations (Thni Kong Seh or Tian Gong Tan) started at 8.00 pm and continued midnight into the nineth day of the first lunar month, Feb 22nd, which is Jade Emperor’s birthday a.k.a. Hokkien New Year.
There were also lion and dragon dance performances.
The Hokkiens pray to the Jade Emperor God of Heaven (also known as Pai Tian Gong), as thanksgiving for saving their lives.
History has it that during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 AD), the Hokkien people in Fujian Province, China were wrongly persecuted by ruthless army in a regional war. They were defeated and their villages were burnt down. They prayed to Jade Emperor God for a safe passage. The Jade Emperor God advised them to sought refuge in sugar cane plantations to avoid being attacked. The persecutors eventually gave up searching and left.
It was on the 9th day of the Chinese lunar new year that they managed to come out from the sugar cane plantations after the end of the war. That day happened to be Jade Emperor God birthday, so the Hokkiens offered sugarcane to him to thank him for their salvation. It was also that day that the Hokkiens were able to celebrate the Chinese New Year, hence the 9th day is also known as the Hokkien New Year.
The Jade Emperor Birthday used to be a celebration for the Hokkiens but today everyone join in the celebration as they pray for good health, prosperity and a better year ahead.
Giant joss sticks with dragon motifs stand imposingly at the Yoke Wong Thai Tay Temple in Section 21, SEA Park, Petaling Jaya.
The Yoke Wong Thai Tay Temple in Section 21, SEA Park, Petaling Jaya is crowded with devotees queuing to offer their prayers. The street in front of the temple was closed to traffic.
Food offerings such as roasted pigs, sugar cane stalks, etc. are made to the Jade Emperor God.
Yoke Wong Thai Tay Temple chief medium Madame Lim Koon Foong giving blessings to devotees.
Devotees offered prayers to Jade Emperor God deity and received blessings from the temple mediums who included chief medium of the temple Madam Lim Koon Foong (left, in yellow silk blouse) and senior medium Ronnie Chiew (not in pic).
A pair of captivating lions in a dance performance that is part of the celebration.
Senior medium Ronnie Chiew (left, with raised hands) leading the lion dance troupe into the main prayer hall.
Chief medium Madame Lim Koon Foong receiving a plate of offerings from a member of the lion dance troupe in the main prayer hall.
Chief medium Madame Lim Koon Foong receiving a plate of oranges from the lion dance troupe.
Senior medium Ronnie Chiew shaking hands with the lion dance troupe.
(From left) See Hoy Chan Holdings Group executive chairman Tan Sri Dato' Dr. Teo Soo Cheng (1st from left) and his wife, chief medium Madame Lim Koon Foong (2nd from right) and senior medium Ronnie Chiew (1st from right) watching a lion dance performance.
A pair of lively and vibrant lions with their ceremonial performance.
The lion bow its head to chief medium Madame Lim Koon Foong (right, in yellow silk blouse)
Chief medium Madame Lim Koon Foong watching a dragon dance performance.
The respectful bowing of the dragon to chief medium Madame Lim Koon Foong.
Chief medium Madame Lim Koon Foong presenting a food offering to the dragon.
The dragon dance performing in front of the Yoke Wong Thai Tay Temple in Section 21, SEA Park, Petaling Jaya.
The dragon dance is a colourful and stirring flurry of excitement that is very entertaining to watch.
The dragon dance troupe put up a spectacular performance.
The energetic dragon chasing the pearl. It is symbolic of a dragon’s continuous pursuit of wisdom.
It is believed that the longer the dragon, the more luck it will bring.
The dragon performing a corkscrew-like rotating tricks.
Sugar cane stalks for Pai Tian Gong 拜天公
(Prayer to Jade Emperor God) :
The Jade Emperor is also known as the Yù Huáng or Yù Dì, and is identified as the God of Heaven, the Ruler of all Heavens. Pai Tian Gong falls on the 9th day of the Chinese lunar new year which is the birthday of the Jade Emperor God of Heaven. It is a major event for the Hokkien people. The sugarcane is a must-have offering to Jade Emperor God of Heaven on his birthday because it was the sugarcanes that save their lives.
Devotees selecting stalks of sugar cane at the Section 21 SEA Park wet market in Jalan 21/17 to prepare for the midnight celebration of birthday of Jade Emperor God which is the ninth day after the Chinese New Year celebration.
The roots and the leaves must be attached to the stalks, signifying beginning and ending of all matters.x
A man carrying home a pair of sugar cane which he bought from the fruit stall at the wet market in Jalan 21/17, SEA Park, Petaling Jaya. For the midnight celebration, you will see sugar cane stalks on both sides of the tables which serves as an altar set up outside homes.
A man holding a pair of sugar cane stalks seen walking along Jalan 21/17 opposite the wet market in SEA Park, Petaling Jaya.
Spotted a car along Jalan 21/17 opposite the wet market in SEA Park, Petaling Jaya carrying a pair of sugar cane stalks with its leaves extending out through the window.