Fig. 196: After the GOH left for a tour around the festival space, the devotees continued with their prayers and bowed 3 times.
Fig. 197: The sedan chair teams get ready to carry their chairs and collect their urns from the inner chamber. Shown here is the Fifth chair.
Fig. 198: The Seventh chair team waiting for their turn to collect their urn.
Fig. 199: A boy, perched on his father’s shoulders, looks on at the rocking sedan chair in front of him.
Fig. 200: After collecting the urn, the Seventh sedan chair pays respect to the Nine Emperor Gods by rushing towards the Second Nine Emperor God and Jade Emperor altars thrice.
Fig. 201: The Seventh sedan chair does the same thing at the 9 lamps…
Fig. 202: …And for the temple building.
Fig. 203: The sedan chair team then stops at the festival space outside the tent and awaits the fireworks.
Fig. 204: The LED dragons, seen here gliding swimmingly in the night sky, are a novelty in Long Nan Dian and the Nine Emperor Gods Festival.
Fig. 205: After the appearance of the small dragons, the large LED dragon took to the skies.
Fig. 206: The GOHs and Mr Lee (3rd from right) applauding the LED dragon performance.
Fig. 207: The fireworks display that night was longer the one on the previous day, lasting about 10 minutes.
Fig. 208: After the fireworks, the sedan chairs teams had to pass through a wall of sparks showering down from the metal bar above, perhaps implying that the Nine Emperor Gods had left the festival space.
Fig. 209: The sedan chair teams then load up on their trucks and set off for ECP.
Fig. 210: The ritual table had already been set up by the time the sedan chair teams arrived at ECP.
Fig. 211: The teams rush to set up their offerings for their Nine Emperor Gods.
Fig. 212: The dragon boats, pasted with receipts of donations made, wait to be sent out to sea.
Fig. 213: After everyone got into position, the Taoist priests commence the sending-off ritual.
Fig. 214: The head priest motions for the luzhu to pay his respects.
Fig. 215: After the ritual had ended, the dragon boats were sent out to sea.
Fig. 216: A temple helper setting the dragon boats on fire.
Fig. 217: The dragon boats burning as they drift further out to sea.
Fig. 218: The sedan chair team members line up in front of their chair and kneel, creating a path for their team leader to pass.
Fig. 219: The sedan team leader holds the urn above his head and while kneeling, moves towards the sea with his members behind him.
Fig. 220: The team leader and his members wade into the water until they cannot go further, at which point they will deposit the urn in the water and let it sink.
Fig. 221: Back at the temple, when the devotees had already left, work was already being done to take down the infrastructure that same night.
Fig. 222: The head priest conducts a ritual to close the altar.
Fig. 223: The sedan team leaders return their tablets to the temple.
On 31 October 2017, a dinner celebrating the end of the festival was held at the former festival space. There were about 300 tables. As people ate the roughly 7 to 8 course meal, an auction was concurrently selling auspicious items related to the Nine Emperor Gods as well as alcohol.
Fig. 224: The festival space had been transformed into a dining room.
Fig. 225: Ah Zhong (left) and Ah Wu touching up a mini sedan chair that would be auctioned off later in the night.
Fig. 226: Alcohol is a popular auctioned item, with some bidders drinking it during the dinner after successfully bidding for it.
Fig. 227: A registration booth was set up to verify the identity of the invited guests.
The festival still remains not only a time for devotion, but also a time for collaboration, family and brotherhood. Devotees who are usually occupied by work and family commitments make time to participate and even volunteer in the festival. The old and young generations stand under the same sky to watch the LED dragons and fireworks. Parents bring their children out to play as they pay their respects. Sedan team members joke amongst themselves on the truck as they head toward their next destination. Indeed, while the motivations of the participants vary, they experience the festival among one another’s company.
Fig. 228: Sedan team members for the Eighth chair posing for a photo just before collecting their urn.
Text and Photos by Team Long Nan Dian 2016-7 (Lydia Wong, Foo Zhi Jie, Swee Qiao Pei, Ng Yun Xian, Rachel Wee, Rachel Chua, Tang Hui Jun, Danny Ang)
Team Leader: Lee Chih-Hsien
Our very sincere thanks to the committee of Long Nan Dian for their support and assistance during our documentation project.
The Project Team (through the Principal Investigator) and the National Heritage Board of Singapore own the rights to the photos and photo essays on this website unless stated otherwise.