3. Special Events/Visiting Deities
Master Chen Yi Biao is the leader of Yu Huang Dian Yu Hai Tang Guan Yin Tang. He is also the medium between the deities and the committee members. Each deity is said to have a unique divine rhyme and “weapon”. The temple committee will have to prepare the “weapons” and other ritual equipment beforehand and hand them to the deity channeling through Master Chen. Each deity will have His or Her own way of blessing the devotees. Devotees will also consult different deities on different matters.
On the second day (初二) of the ninth lunar month, Dou Lao Tian Zun (斗姥天尊) visited the temple. His tools included a dragon staff and an phoenix brush. After His arrival, He proceeded first to the altar of Dou Mu to pay his respects before returning to the main (Guan Yin Da Shi 观音大士) Hall. The Dou Lao Tian Zun then went on to bless the devotees kneeling in front of him.
On the 6th day (初六), the Guan Yin Da Shi (观音大士) visited the temple to consecrate the Dragon Ship and to invite the Dou Mu Tian Jun (斗姆天君). After His arrival, the committee members moved the Dragon ship to the courtyard, and a talisman with a seal was pasted on the ship. The Guan Yin Da Shi will then proceed to the courtyard to inspect the Dragon ship. He will use a willow branch to sprinkle holy water on the Dragon ship. After completing the consecration, He departed from the temple, and the Dou Mu Tian Jun arrived.
After the arrival of the Dou Mu Tian Jun (斗姆天君), the committee members helped Her put on the Dou Mu robe, and placed Her weapons, namely a golden bow and arrow, in Her hands. She proceeded to the different altars to offer incense. Thereafter, She returned to the main hall to bless the devotees.
4. Yew Keng/Temple Visits (游行/参拜）
During the festival, other Nine Emperor God temples will visit Yu Huang Dian Yu Hai Tang Guan Yin Tang during their processions (Yew Keng) and visits to pay respects and to exchange incense.
Each temple varied in terms of the size of its troupes and style of pay respects. Some visiting temples had a larger number of devotees following, with dragon and lion dance troupes, numerous elaborate floats (花车) and sedan chairs, while others were smaller in scale.
Temples with lion and dragon dance troupes accompanying will have these troupes enter the temple first to perform and pay respects, followed by the committee members of the visiting temple who will follow the troupes to each of the altars to pay respects.
The vanguard plays an important leading role in receiving the visiting temples. He would use the dragon whip to clear the place of evil spirits before the entry of the lion and dragon dance troupes, the committee of the visiting temple, their devotees, and their sedan chairs. He will hold five coloured flags in his hand, with each colour representing the generals of the five cardinal directions, to represent them helping to clear the way for the visiting temple.
Led by Mr. Tan and Jenny, the representatives from the visiting temple would head to the Dou Mu altar first to pay their respects before praying at the NIne Emperors chamber. Before leaving, a representative from the visiting temple will lead the whole contingent in paying respects outside the Nine Emperor Bodhisattvas’ chamber.
Throwing of rice by the visiting temple signifies making way for the deities (开路)
Fruit hampers and sandalwood powder were exchanged to signify the friendship between the temples.