In addition to the devotees, there were many members of the public who came to Hong San Temple to watch the Procession. It was a massive event during the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, during which the different committees within Hong San Temple showed their ‘appreciation’ to the Nine Emperor Gods.
The different associations in the temple chartered and prepared highly-decorated ‘floats’ and scheduled exciting performances for the sending-off procession, such as lion-dance, dragon dance and acrobatics. The ‘floats’ drove pass Hong San Temple, while the performers entered the temple to pay their respects. The latter showed their respect to the deities at the main entrance before the steps and the Nine Lamps.
The military band marched in at 1739H
At the same time, the Sedan Carriers carried the two Sedan Chairs from the stage into the Main Praying Hall.
The Hong San Temple committee gave their tributes and paid respects collectively.
More people arrived, as Hong San Temple started to get crowded by 1830H.
The beautifully-decorated floats.
Dragon and lion dances.
Carp rally and mythological figures on stilts.
Indian and Thai dances.
Towards the end of the Procession, the Ritual Ship and Palanquins prepared to leave Hong San Temple.
Setting off the fireworks before the Ritual Ship left the Temple.
The Ritual Ship left for East Coast Park
Some devotees said their prayers as the Ritual Ship departed
Before the Statue and the Urn representing the Nine Emperor Gods were placed in the sedan chairs, the Taoist priest, Lor Zhu and Lao Cai You performed rituals in the inner chamber. When the ritual ended and the Nine Emperor Gods were settled in the sedan chairs, the Lor Zhu carrying incense carrier and other ritual objects accompanied by Lao Cai You walked from the inner chamber under the leading of the Taoist priest.
The main Lor Zhu carried the incense urn out, while the palanquins followed after him
The Nine Emperor Gods in the Sedan Chairs leaving Hong San Temple for East Coast Park
The ship being carried to the lorry, to be transported to East Coast Park.
The Priest, Towkay and Lor Zhu departed for East Coast Park too
Upon passing every road junction, salt and rice was sprinkled to clean the path.
And up the bus to East Coast Park.
Sending-Off Ceremony at East Coast Park
A yellow banner with the characters 九皇大帝 greeted the worshippers at the Car Park. Temple committee members preparing the banners and flags before heading to the beach
To the beach
Bringing the Ritual Ship to the Beach
The Sedan Chairs at the Beach
Temple helpers and devotees at the beach
Preparing to tug the Ritual Ship into the sea
Under the instruction of the Lao Caiyou, the yellow urn representing the Nine Emperor Gods was placed on the beach. Lor Zhu, Towkay, Lao Cai You and members of Hong San Keong knelt around it leaving a path to the sea. Lor Zhu knelt in front of the yellow urn with Lao Cai You beside him. The Taoist priest standing behind them started the ritual informing the heaven of the sending off ceremony and prayed for blessing for the temple, committee, Towkay, Lor Zhu, members, and devotees. The joss sticks in their hands were then collected and put into the urn.
The Lor Zu carried the urn, and went into the sea
After the Nine Emperor Gods were sent off (with the Lor Zu releasing the urn he carried into the sea), the Ritual Ship was set on fire. Worshippers said their prayers, and burnt their yellow band/belt (part of the festival’s attire).
It marked the end of the Sending-Off Ceremony. The crowd dispersed and headed back to Hong San Temple by the chartered buses.
Back at Hong San Temple, the Yellow lanterns outside the main prayer hall had been switched to Red while the temple party and devotees were sending off the Nine Emperor Gods. The sending-off contingent and the devotees returned to find the area outside the main prayer hall covered with red lanterns rather than yellow. Worshippers now end their vegetarian diet, except for the Towkay, Lor Zhu and certain Temple committee members.
Lowering of the Nine Lamps (29th October 2017)
The lowering of the Nine Lamps took place around 10AM. While the raising of the Nine Lamps indicates the beginning of the festival, the lowering marks its end. Like the former, Towkay, Lor Zhu and Lao Cai You were the main participants of the ritual. The Taoist priest would lead the ritual by chanting, inform the heavenly court about the end of the festival and pray for blessing for the above participants and the temple. After the priest completed the chanting and praying, the Nine Lamps would be lowered, the site would be removed, and the lamp pole would be dismantled. Upon finishing this final ritual, the duty of Towkay and Lor Zhu was finally fulfilled and then they could resume their normal diet.
Straw mats were laid on the floor, as the Towkay, Lor Zhu and Lao Cai You sat on them to wait for the Priest. Salt and rice was scattered on the floor. The Priest started his chanting after hearing the Gong sound.
The Priest spraying water to bless the Towkay, Lor Zhu and Lao Cai You.
He would chant, and stop to knock a wooden block on his right against the table. The Lor Zhu stood up, and readied a pot of tea. Thereafter, the Lor Zhu poured tea into the row of cups. This motion continued thrice.
The Priest took out pieces of petition, and continued to chant. Meanwhile, he continued the motion of knocking the wooden block against the table. Later, he kept the petition, and picked up the yellow bowl of water, and sprinkled water towards the Nine Lamps before turning back to bless the people on the mat. The ritual comes to an end.
Rice and salt was scattered. The Lor Zhu sounded the Gong 12 times, with the others counting out loud for him. After that, the rack holding the Nine Lamps was lowered. As it was lowered, the Towkays prepared incense papers to burn. It was during this time that the Towkay, Lor Zhu and Lao Cai You removed their yellow belts and wristbands to burn them in the fire. The barriers to cordon the area were also removed.
The main Lor Zhu gave his prayers.
The bamboo lamp pole was lowered and chopped off. Everyone can now end their vegetarian diet.
The 2017 Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Hong San Temple ended with the lowering of the Nine Lamps.