Jiu Huang Dian 九皇殿 2017 [中文版]

Jiu Huang Dian 九皇殿 2017

庆祝九皇盛会

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纸扎龙船在海上被点燃

农历九月初九的晚上,一只焚烧着的纸扎龙船瞬间照亮了整片樟宜海滩。为期十一日的庆典也在此落幕。这就是东南亚独特的九皇盛会。

九皇殿

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玉封九皇殿的庆典场地

玉封九皇殿从建庙至今已有九年。九皇殿成立于二〇〇八年十二月,起初只是一间位于裕廊东四十一巷的住家神坛。经过一次又一次的搬迁,至今落脚于万礼。只有在九月间的庆典,才会在裕廊区搭建帐篷举行庆典,供信徒膜拜。

庆典的准备

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挂在坛前的旗帜写着‘北斗星君’, ‘九皇大帝’,和 ‘南斗星君’的神号

九皇庆典为期十一天,从农历八月的最后一天到九月初十。虽然庆典只有短短的十一天,但筹备工作在很早就已经开始进行了,比如搭建五层神台,挂起旗帜和种种装饰。

image008.jpg五层高的神台

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场地的布置

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除了悬挂在帐篷前端的五色旗,帐篷内的装饰多数都以黄色为主。帐篷内从前到后,从左到右都有各别的旗帜。较前端的旗帜写的是‘五营军将’,‘玉皇上帝’,和‘六壬仙师’。较后端的则是写‘北斗星君’, ‘九皇大帝’ 和‘南斗星君’。

天灯

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将油灯点亮

天灯是为了迎接天神,并告知神灵此处正举行着庆典。玉封九皇殿选择以传统的方式,立起了长长的竹子,再把九盏点燃的油灯挂上去。在立起竹子之前,工作人员会挖洞,把米和酒放进去,然后道士再把符放入洞内。竹子上也会挂满符咒。九月初一晚上,在道士的监督下,工作人员把天灯挂上,象征着庆典正式的开始。

image016.jpg挂在竹子上的符咒

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工作人员将竹子准备好

请神

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神像到了庆典场地

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工作人员将神像摆置好

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工作人员布置场地

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神坛经过布置好后

虽说是庆祝九皇盛会,但庆典也不忘邀请众神明前来共同欢庆,其中就包括了‘三清道主’,‘三官大帝’,‘六壬仙师’,‘大伯公’,以及等等众仙。

image028.jpg玉封九皇殿的神案

九皇殿内的神坛上是以神明的等级来排位的。最高级的天神会坐最顶层,而土地神则会占最底层。无论阶级的大小,诸位神明都受邀于庆典给前来膜拜的信徒们赐福。

Jiu Huang Dian 九皇殿 2016 [中文版]

2016年!齐心协力祭拜九皇大帝!

I.     玉封九皇殿:年轻的庙宇

庆祝九皇大帝诞的本地著名庙宇中,成立至今只有八年的玉封九皇殿属于较年轻的庙宇。

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玉封九皇殿在2008年12月18日正式成立。尽管成立时间不长,此庙的成员们依然保留不少传统礼仪。最重要的传统礼仪是穿白色衣裤并且系上白头巾和黄腰带。

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图:成员们会在白头巾上用红色墨水盖印,印章刻有“九皇大帝”字样。

白色装束的习俗有三个解释:

  1. 成员们相信白色装束源自宋朝。那个年代,住在海边的居民相信如果穿白色装束,就能驱走猖獗的海盗;
  2. 九皇大帝喜欢白色;
  3. 穿白色装束是为了向祖先致敬。

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另一项重要习俗是吃斋。成员们要在节日期间吃斋,就如五营将军一样。当然食量不如将军们一样大!成员们会给将军们提供大量食物以补充精力来给九皇大帝护驾。委员与成员们会在农历八月初一,也就是节日的一个月前,开始吃斋。其他成员们则在农历七月初十,也就是节日的四十九天前,开始吃斋。

在玉封九皇殿,节日通常长达十天,从农历八月三十日的请水仪式,到农历九月初九的恭送九皇大帝的仪式。节日一直在裕廊举行,从裕廊西41街(2009年至2013年)到大牌347裕廊东1巷(2014年至今)。现今地点的平面图(不按比例绘制)如下:

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场地里设有一间称为斗母宫的内殿。内殿是只有委员会成员才可以进入。场地里也设有一间外殿,供公众参拜。成员们通常在节日的两个星期前开始为节日进行准备与布置。

II. 由年轻一代带领的庙宇

不仅庙宇较新,此庙的委员会成员们也比其他庙宇委员会成员来得年轻。

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在一个强调尊老敬贤的社会里,成立庙宇初期,年轻信徒们难免会碰到众人的反对与质疑。因此,这群年轻信徒们能克服种种困难并最终自立门户是一项壮举。

建立庙宇的过程可不是一帆风顺。为了建立庙宇,创始人之一Lawrence (以下图右)接受了道士培训。

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Lawrence也知道,由于他较为年轻并且没有著名前辈的支持,要让众人相信庙宇的正当性是件相当困难的事。因此,他在接受道师培训时,花了两年的时间在坟场打坐修行。

也许是在建立庙宇时经历不少困难的缘故,成员们之间形成了一个强而有力的凝聚力。由于不少成员们拥有全职工作,因此成员们之间还需要互相协调彼此的工作时间。尽管如此,从节日开始的第一天至最后一天,九皇殿的成员们都非常努力,发挥团队精神,让整个节日办得非常成功。

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图片中,成员们正在布置竹竿的顶部(顶部上会装上旗子和滑轮系统)。竹竿的顶部会贴上纸符。

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一些成员们在竹竿后方紧紧地拉住绳子以支撑竹竿,同时还要注意抬竹竿成员们的安全。竹竿准备齐全后,成员们齐心协力,一起把它立起。

准备过程中,成员们之间的友情充分地展现出来,尤其在整个队伍前往樟宜海边请水和恭送九皇爷的时候。

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成员们会帮彼此系上头巾……

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并且一起对着镜头嬉笑。

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虽然从帐篷地点(大牌347裕廊东1巷)到卓源路的路途漫长且艰苦,但是途中的气氛是振奋人心的。

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就算没有节日,一些成员们也会聚在一起吃饭或聊天。

作为一间新庙,玉封九皇殿常常必须面对为节日筹钱的问题。筹钱的方式大致上有两种:

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一、信徒们前来参拜时的捐款,

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二、以及恭送九皇大帝后,当天晚上的喊标活动。

附近的巴刹因为进行装修而关闭,因此今年的香客数量也减少。因此有一些信徒们指出,比起2015年,2016年所举办的活动显得没那么壮观。

以下图片:三台神轿都是由成员们赞助的。

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III. 庙宇作为既定网络中的一份子

阐述完了庙宇内部的社群关系,让我们把焦点转到庙宇的外在网络。在农历九月八日,玉封九皇殿会到各地的庙宇进香。

庙宇之间的关系就是要礼尚往来。当一间庙宇曾派人到你的庙宇进香时,另外一间庙宇也要回礼,到对方的庙宇参拜。

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image037.jpgimage038.jpg龙山岩斗母宫参拜玉封九皇殿

image040.jpgimage041.jpg玉封九皇殿参拜龙山岩斗母宫

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进香之前,玉封九皇殿会先寄信给会参拜的庙宇,通知众庙们参拜的日期和预计的时间。尽管一些庙宇选择在同一天参拜一间庙宇,两者的时间不会相撞。这也体现了庙宇网络的动态性。

最后,在农历九月十日,也就是恭送九皇爷的隔天晚上,国会议员傅海燕女士出席了晚宴。

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傅议员的出席暗示了政府对节日的重视,并加强了节日的正当性。如此一来,从整个节日看下来,我们能看到三层关系:玉封九皇殿的内部关系、庙宇之间的关系以及玉封九皇殿与政府之间的关系。

本網站之相片與文字版權歸項目團隊(經項目主持人)及新加坡國家文物局所有,侵權必究。

玉封九皇殿小组编撰 (Ng Gee Ling, Sim Hui Min, Lyn Ng, Lin Kui Bin)

Team Leader:  Lin Chia Tsun

由衷感谢玉封九皇殿各理事的支持与协助。

 

Jiu Huang Dian 九皇殿 2016 [English Version]

Jiu Huang Dian 九皇殿 2016

Unity in the spirit of the Nine Emperor Gods 

I.     Yu Feng Jiu Huang Dian: The Young Temple

As a temple with just eight years of history, Yu Feng Jiu Huang Dian (玉封九皇殿) is a comparably new temple among the known temples celebrating the Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Singapore.

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As shown in the picture on the left, the white bandanas are stamped with the words “Nine Emperor Gods (九皇大帝)” in red.

The white attire has three explanations:

Historically, it was believed that pirates, who were prevalent during the Song dynasty, would be warded off if people living near the sea wore white; 2.The Nine Emperor Gods like the colour white; and 3.To show respect to the ancestors.

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Another important practice is to undertake a vegetarian diet, at least for the period of the festival, just as the five generals do. Of course, we do not eat as much as the generals; they are provided with heaps of food to replenish their energy, which is needed to protect the Nine Emperor Gods. Committee members commonly begin the vegetarian diet on the 1st day of the 8th lunar month, a month before the beginning of the festival, while other members start 49 days before the festival (on the 10th day of the 7th lunar month).

At Yu Feng Jiu Huang Dian, the festival typically lasts for ten days, from inviting the gods (请水) on the 30th day of the 8th lunar month to sending the gods off (恭送九皇爷) on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month. The festival has always been at Jurong, shifting from Jurong West Street 41 (2009-2013) to the current location at 347 Jurong East Avenue 1 (2014-). At the current location, the set-up is as follows (not drawn to scale):image008.jpg

There is an “inner palace hall” (内殿), also called Dou Mu Gong (斗母宫), which only committee members may enter, and an “external palace hall” (外殿), also called Jiu Huang Dian (九皇殿), which is displayed to the public. Generally, the members begin preparation and setting up two weeks before the festival.

II.      The Young Temple, led by the Young Generation

Not only is the temple relatively new, the committee members are younger on average compared to the other temples.

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In a religion which places high respect for elders, it is inevitable that younger devotees face more objection and scepticism when setting up their own temples. It is therefore impressive for this group of young devotees to overcome the odds, and finally managed to set up their own temple.

The path has not been an easy one. To set up this temple, one of the founding members, Lawrence, underwent training as a priest.

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He too knew that being relatively young and without the support of a prominent figure from the older generation, it would be difficult to convince people about their temple’s legitimacy. Hence, he spent two years at a cemetery as part of the priest training, taking time to learn the rituals.

Perhaps due to the hardships of setting up their own temple, it seems to me that the members form a close-knit community revolving around the festival. As most of the members are still working full-time, there is additional coordination work to be done to fit each other’s schedules (who takes leave at certain periods of time etc.). Yet, from the very first night I met the temple members (on the second last day of the 8th lunar month, when they lifted the bamboo), they demonstrated teamwork, each contributing in their own ways.

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Some members set up the top of the bamboo (where a flag and pulley system would be assembled) while others pasted paper talismans on the stem of the bamboo.

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Once the bamboo was all prepared, the members came together as one to lift it in place. Some members acted as back support, pulling the ropes tightly on the sidelines, and looking out for the safety of the members lifting the bamboo.

There were other moments of friendships captured as well, especially during the inviting and sending off of the Nine Emperor Gods, when the entire crew travelled to Changi Beach.

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For instance, members helped each other tie their bandanas…

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…and posed together for the camera.

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In spite of the long strenuous walk from the tentage location (at Blk 347 Jurong East Ave 1) to Toh Guan Road, the atmosphere was uplifting.

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Even during non-festive periods, some of the members still got together from time to time for a meal or just to chat.

Nevertheless, being a new temple with only a small number of devotees, financing the celebration can be an issue. There are two main methods of financing:

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…donations by devotees when they come to pray,image030.jpg

…and the auction on the night after sending off the Nine Emperor Gods. However, with the nearby market closed for renovation, resulting in less visitors, the members had to cut down on the expenses for the year. As such, some devotees were quick to comment that the activities in 2016 were less grandiose in comparison to 2015.

The remaining costs not covered by the donations were probably covered by the members themselves. The three sedans, for example, were sponsored by the members.

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In a way then, the documentation of Yu Feng Jiu Huang Dian has displayed the perks and hardships of setting up a new temple by a group of younger devotees.

III.   The Temple as a Node in the Established Network

Having expounded on the relations within the temple, I would like to focus on the external network of the temple. On the 8th day of the 9th lunar month, Yu Feng Jiu Huang Dian organised its Jin Xiang (进香), visiting and paying respect to the other temples.

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It seems that when members of a temple visit your temple, you are more obliged to return with a visit as well.

image037.jpgimage038.jpgLong Shan Yan Dou Mu Gong visits Yu Feng Jiu Huang Dian

image040.jpgimage041.jpgYu Feng Jiu Huang Dian visits Long Shan Yan Dou Mu Gong

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Furthermore, a letter must be sent to the temples involved, stating the date and estimated time of the visit. Also, the dynamic network of temples is displayed through the fact that there are no clashes between visiting temples, i.e. although some temples choose to visit on the same day, the timings do not overlap.

Last but not least, on the 10th night of the 9th lunar month, the night after sending the Nine Emperor Gods off, Member of Parliament (MP) Ms Grace Fu attended the banquet.

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Her presence was warmly welcomed by members of Jiu Huang Dian. The last day reveals the network of Jiu Huang Dian, which consists of three layers of relationships: within the temple, between temples, and Yu Feng Jiu Huang Dian’s relationship with the government.

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.

Text and Photos by Team Jiu Huang Dian 2016  (Ng Gee Ling, Sim Hui Min, Lyn Ng, Lin Kui Bin)

Team Leader:  Lin Chia Tsun

Our very sincere thanks to the committee of Yu Feng Jiu Huang Dian temple for their support and assistance during our documentation project.

Jiu Huang Dian 九皇殿 2017 [English Version]

Jiu Huang Dian 九皇殿 2017

Nine Emperor Gods Festival

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Burning of dragon boat to signify the sending off of the nine emperor gods

On the evening of the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, a burning boat lit up the shore of Changi Beach. The boat is consumed by fire, quickly sending nine divine beings on their journey back to their celestial abodes. This send-off ritual is none other than the closing of the divine beings’ nine-day sojourn into the human world during one of the biggest Taoist celebrations in Singapore, the Nine Emperor Gods Festival

Jiu Huang Dian: A Young Temple

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Yu Feng Jiu Huang Dian (玉封九皇殿) tentage of its festival

Being a fairly young home temple, Yu Feng Jiu Huang Dian (玉封九皇殿) has nine years of history. It was founded on December 2008 and originally located at Jurong West Street 41 (where it held its festival). Before moving in 2014, to 347 Jurong East Ave 1, where it would occupy a large open area temporarily for nine days. While there was a change in venue, it did not prevent Taoist devotees who stayed around these area from gracing the event. Many came to pray for the Nine Emperor Gods’ blessings and some even followed this temple from its original venue to volunteer at the festival.

Preparations

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Banners hung up across the front side near the altar which says The Northern Star Dipper ‘北斗星君’, Jiu Huang Da Di ‘九皇大帝’, The Southern Star Dipper ‘南斗星君’

The Nine Emperor Gods Festival is held from last day of the eighth lunar month to the tenth day of the ninth lunar month. However, preparations for the festival had started early, starting from scratch, the setup of the five-storey altar, banners, the five coloured flags and some deity costumes at the side.

image008.jpgSetting up of the five storey high altar to hold the gods

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Wide view of the tentage from the outside

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The altar is fully installed with yellow fabrics clothing the five storey altar, along with the five flags and a long banner across the tentage area. The five flags hung at the pinnacle of the altar, represents North, West, Central, South and East.

And there are banners hung across the front side of the tentage positioning from the left; The Northern Star Dipper ‘北斗星君’, Nine Emperor God ‘九皇大帝’ and The Southern Star Dipper ‘南斗星君’. The second installation of flags marks other deities who are invited to the Nine Emperor Gods festival such as the ‘五营将军’, ‘玉皇上帝’ and‘六壬仙师’.As such the plain open area is transformed with a festive atmosphere befitting of a celebration for the Nine Emperor Gods.

Installing the Heavenly Lantern

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Temple founder lighting up the lamps

The heavenly lantern is raised with a tall bamboo in a bid to guide deities and gods to the celebration. It has to be a 15years old bamboo and is strong, tall and straight in order to withstand the nine-day celebrations.

During the process, a hole is dug for the bamboo, where rice and wine are placed in it. The Taoist priest would chant a prayer and place a ‘fu’ amulet into the hole. An interesting procedure notable is the blessing of the area then insert the bamboo into it.

image016.jpgReligious inscriptions to be attached to the bamboo

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Temple members preparing bamboo to hold the lamps

Inviting the deities

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Statues arriving at open area

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Temple members carefully placing the statues to the respective positions

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Temple members ensuring the statues are placed orderly and neatly

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Completed altar with deities and various offerings

The preparations also included other Gods who were invited to this festival. They include the gods from heavens and earth from 三清、三公、六壬、大伯公 、众仙.

image028.jpgA close up of some of the deities

The deities and gods are arranged on the altar in such a way as the heaven gods were placed at the top and the earth gods were placed at the bottom. Some of the invited gods or deities include 六壬仙师, 关圣帝君, 千里眼顺风耳将军, 玄天上帝, 广泽尊王. At this warm and delightful festival, devotees come down to join and pray for blessing and fortune.