Yu Huang Dian Yu Hai Tang Guan Yin Tang 玉皇殿玉海棠观音堂九皇菩萨庆典 2017 [English Version]

After the lion and dragon dance performances, several helpers from the temple brought the large sedan chair out and placed it on stacks of incense papers placed on the floor of the courtyard in front of the Nine Emperor chamber. The sedan chair used by Yu Huang Dian Yu Hai Tang Guan Yin Tang is exceptionally large and heavy, requiring eight people to carry it.  It is based on the original sedan chair, without too many modifications.  It is said that it can fit a person if the inside is cleared.

The sedan chair was carried by eight committee members and paid respects to the different deities at the different altars before leaving the temple grounds.  An assistant cracked the dragon whip at the gate of the temple to clear the way for the sedan chair.   The lion dancers were lined up facing the sedan chair and did a short dance to pay respects to it before it left the temple.  The temple committee members threw incense papers into the air as the sedan chair left.

The devotees were dressed in white shirts and trousers, while the temple committee members were dressed in sackcloth clothing with a yellow cloth tied around their waists and a white headscarf worn on their heads. Devotees either boarded the buses chartered by the temple or drove in their cars to East Coast Park. The temple committee, the sedan chair and other religious paraphernalia were transported to East Coast Park by lorry.

Upon reaching East Coast Park, the procession was led by the lion dance and dragon dance troupes, followed by Mr. Tan and Jenny holding the dragon staff and phoenix staff, two of the temple committee members hitting the gong, and the sedan chair.

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A ritual table was already set up on the beach before the arrival of the receiving contingent, with all the necessary religious paraphernalia for the receiving ceremony and rituals. 

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The appointed urn bearer (炉主) knelt in front of the sedan chair, brought the urn out and placed it on his head before bringing it to the table by moving on his knees across the sand. The same was done for the plaque bearing the Nine Emperor BOdhisattvas title. Facing the ritual table, the urn bearer prayed and poured six cups of wine onto the sand while kneeling on two stacks of incense papers. This served as a mark of respect to the Nine Emperor Bodhisattvas.

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The committee members of the temple followed by devout devotees of the temple, were then called forward to pay respects to the Nine Emperor Bodhisattvas.

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After each individual family was called, devotees of the temple were instructed to kneel down and pray to the Nine Emperor Bodhisattvas for their blessings.

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A temple member waved a black flag towards the sea throughout the ceremony to invoke the Nine Emperor Bodhisattvas.

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Piles of incense papers near the seaside were burned as offerings to the deities as the temple committee members prepared to go into the sea to receive the Nine Emperor Bodhisattvas.

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The receiving ritual requires a young boy, who symbolises purity, to walk into the sea carrying the incense urn and fill it with water. The boy, along with two other supporting adults, went into the sea and submerged themselves completely to fill the urn with water, before returning to the shore. The urn was placed on top of the boy’s head, and as they were coming back, Jenny led the shouting of “ Jiu Huang Pu Sa (九皇九菩薩)” in welcoming the Nine Emperor Bodhisattvas.

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As done earlier, the urn bearer put the plaque and the urn on his head and back into the sedan chair by moving on his knees across the sand. The sedan chair was then lifted and carried to the lorry.   The items at the beach were packed and everyone headed back to the temple.

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Back in the temple, Master Chen entered the temple with a group of committee members to prepare for the arrival of the first Emperor God.   They were followed by the sedan chair. 

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The sound of the gong intensified as Shifu got possessed by Da Huang Ye (大皇爷). The temple members put on an elaborate head gear and robe for him and handed him two swords. After Shifu was possessed, the temple’s members knelt down and proclaimed “皇爷千岁千岁千千岁!”. Da Huang Ye (大皇爷). held on to nine joss sticks with his mouth and carried swords and joss sticks on both hands. Together with the temple members, Da Huang Ye  went to the Dou Mu platform (斗母坛) to pay His respects temple and the NEG chamber (九皇殿) to perform some rituals.

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After that, the committee members followed Da Huang Ye back to the main hall of the temple.    The temple committee members and the devotees then took turns to kneel before Da Huang Ye to receive blessings from him.  The guardians of the dragon and the pheonix staffs accompanied the Da Huang Ye, translating his instructions and suggestions to the devotees.

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