Festival of the Nine Imperial Gods

Nine Imperial Gods, Festival of the

First nine days of ninth lunar month
As celebrated today in Singapore, the Festival of the Nine Imperial Gods derives from an ancient Chinese cleansing ritual. The festival begins with a procession to a body of water. There a Taoist priest prays for the spirits of the Gods to enter an urn of burning incense. The procession then carries the urn to a temple, where worshippers can bring offerings. Outside the Tou Mu Kong temple, near Kangkar, Singapore, people are informed of the Gods' presence by the raising of nine oil lamps dangling from a bamboo pole. Worshippers enter the temple by crossing a specially constructed bridge. By crossing the bridge, devotees trust that they are cleansed of all evil from the previous year.
Chinese operas known as wayang shows—some of which take two or more days to complete—are often performed during the nine days of the festival.
On the ninth day, a final procession takes the urn back to the water's edge, where it is placed in a small boat to carry the Gods back to the heavens.
CONTACTS:
Singapore Tourism Board
1156 Ave. of the Americas, Ste. 702
New York, NY 10036
212-302-4861; fax: 212-302-4801
www.visitsingapore.com
SOURCES:
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 578
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