Friday, October 16, 2015

Ampang Nine Emperor Gods Festival 2015 - Feeding of the Heavenly Army on Day 3

Day 3, 6 and 9 sees the feeding of the Heavenly Army at Ampang Nine Emperor Gods. This is where they put buckets of food out for the Generals and Heavenly Army of the five directions. On the 3rd day, they will also plant the five directional flags on the perimeter of the temple, signifying the Heavenly army and their generals standing guard over the temple at the four corners and in the centre.
The medium in a trance self-immolates and overseas the feeding of the heavenly army with the Taoist priest.
No, he is not going to issue you summons for parking haphazardly - the medium going around the temple inspecting the temple ground and getting rid of any 'evil' influences that might have sneaked in

After a short break, the medium trancing the Nine Emperor God will also make an inspection round of the entire temple. The fun part is to watch him inspect the dorms (where we had no idea which way he would come in or out from - kinda like a guessing game) and also of the opera stage, where he does a little twirl at centre stage.
The Emperor God and his royal entourage of priest, assistants and RELA personnel.
Presenting the Ampang Nine Emperor Gods production of.... the Nutcracker Suite.... NOT. The Nine Emperor God dances as he goes through the opera stage.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ampang Nine Emperor Gods Festival 2015 - Day Two

The second day of Nine Emperor Gods Festival sees the invitation of the Finance Minister at Ampang Nan Tian Gong temple. This procession mirrors that of the Nine Emperor Gods invitation ceremony on the 12th of October, with the difference being the Finance Minister, Tian Fu Yuan Shuai is the deity invited this evening.
Fishy... Chinese love their fish. Here there are many fishes and a phoenix flying to the temple.

The other difference to this procession compared to that of the first one is that the energy levels seemed to be very high, and everyone seemed to be anxious to get the Finance Minister back to the temple. Well, who wouldn't want to be in the good books with the money guy? Especially in times of economic hardship, everyone must be praying hard that Tian Fu Yuan Shuai will bless them with money and more money...
Sushi or shashimi...
The cutest dragon and dragon dancers in town...
The palanquin leaving the temple.
The outriders for the gods do not have sirens nor flashing lights, just these plaques.
Hi ho, hi ho.. is off to the invitation we go. The ladies trooping down the road at the start of the invitation ceremony.

The number of visitors were much more too, due to the public holiday, as well as photographers, making it a mad dash for the best spot to see the happenings in the temple. So for those who prefer to see the procession at Ampang Nan Tian Gong Temple with less maddening crowd, the invitation ceremony for the Nine Emperor Gods is a far calmer, more restrained and regal in a way as compared to the invitation of the Finance Minister.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Nine Emperor Gods Festival 2015 - First Day @ Ampang

The first day of the festival at Ampang Nan Tian Gong Nine Emperor Gods temple started off as a quite day immersed in prayers and offerings. However, the mood became very festive after 6pm, probably due to the next day being a public holiday in Malaysia for Awal Muharram. By 8pm, the crowds were surging in, the opera blaring away and incense smoke pouring through the vents and doors of the temple.

Devoted to her prayers... she is a picture of calm in the sea of moving devotees in the temple.

Then a heavy downpour came and somewhat slowed everything down. It was more of a gridlock scenario as devotees crammed into whatever sheltered space available to avoid the rain. The crowd then slowly thins out as the night passes.
Peace (ie safety) wherever you go... a LED sign hanging from one of the stalls outside the temple.
Reciting prayers to the Nine Emperor Gods.
Yes or no.... the lady was throwing divination blocks to obtain an answer from the Nine Emperor Gods.
Tortoise buns with lucky lottery number - a popular offering in this festival.
The atmosphere of the temple at 7pm was rather quiet, as can be seen from this shot.
The crowds came around 8pm... you could hardly move through the road without elbowing someone.
A costume's equivalent of a bad hair day - Chinese opera actors and actresses were performing on stage.
Reflections - after a heavy downpour. It didn't dampen the spirits of the visitors and they continued on despite the wet ground full of puddles.

The second day will probably be more festive and crowded as there will be a procession at 7pm to invite the Finance Minister, Tian Fu Yuan Shuai.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Nine Emperor Gods are here

It ain't heavy, it is the Emperor Gods.... the palanquin that is supposedly used by the deities were being carried out for the ceremony.
On the 12th of October, the Ampang Nine Emperor Gods temple went out to invite the Nine Emperor Gods from a nearby river. The invitation ceremony and procession started at 7.35pm and the palanquin returned with the urn around 10pm. And so the festivities start... Huat ahhhh!
Fire, fire... - dragon joss sticks being lit with kerosene whilst the guy smokes.
Dragon ball... Dragon dances were performed as part of the ceremony and the procession to invite the Nine Emperor Gods - photo by Bob.
Taking out the plaques that announces the presence of the Emperor Gods - photo by Bob
Rock - a - bye Emperor Gods - the palanquin rocking to and fro as they move it from the temple. Devotees believe that the rocking indicates that the deities are present in the palanquin.

There will be another procession on Wed night (14 Oct 2015). However be prepared for a major crowd and traffic jam as it is a public holiday. Even now at 12am, the traffic is backed up to Spectrum at Ampang.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Nine Emperor Gods Festival 2015 - The Preparation @ Ampang

The Nine Emperor Gods Festival is just around the corner, and many temples are no doubt, in the process of getting ready for the festival that starts on October 13th this year. At Ampang, the temple staff were busy cleaning up and getting things up and ready for the festival. So whilst there were many old things that were being spruced up, there is something new too at the temple for this year's celebration.... a new altar table!

The new altar weighs 4 tonnes in total, and is made from a base platform, two side blocks, two panels and a table top, all stone/granite. It was fun as well as many moments filled with trepidation as forklift, straps and manpower were used to assemble the altar table and getting all the parts aligned.
More... more... more..  Placing the table top of the new altar.
All done... were they discussing what 4D (lottery number) to buy???
The new altar... it ain't heavy, it is 4 tonnes!!!

Of course we cannot forget things that are old, and things that most of the devotees and visitors are familiar with at the temple like these photos below.
Divination blocks all stung up with new yellow string
Dragon pillar and light from the airwell.
Kids waiting for their ride home under the pagoda tower.
Here's something err.... 'old'... Cheryl Hoffmann all ready for photo action at the temple.
Kids having a little fun with joss-sticks that were hung up for sale.
The old signs used to direct vehicular traffic leaving the temple.