Monday September 17, 2012
Deity comes down from hill for birthday celebration
GEORGE TOWN: The sounds of cymbals filled the air at the Bao Yu Hill in Air Itam, which houses the Bao Yu Xian Yan Tua Peh Kong Temple, to mark the deity's birthday celebration.
Temple chairman Ch'ng Poh Teik said that for the past 150 years, the Tua Peh Kong deity had been carried by devotees on a sedan chair to make his annual journey down from the hilltop cave temple to the open space behind the Air Itam market.
This is done on the first day of the Chinese eighth lunar calendar of every year, he said.
“After the deity is brought down, we will invite' the deity to celebrate the birthday for nine days,” he said.
Ch'ng said the highlights of the nine-day celebrations included the religious birthday prayers, cultural stage shows and the ko tai stage performances.
Yesterday, hundreds of devotees braved the early morning showers to make their journey up the hill.
Among those who made their way up was grandmother Chin Lai Chu, 55.
“I have been coming up every year for the past 15 years. It is not that tiring because I love hiking but we have to move slowly because it is very slippery,” she said.
After the nine days, devotees will usher the deity back to the temple.
On the 12th day of the eighth lunar calendar, there will be a 150th Bao Yu Xian Yan Tua Peh Kong birthday dinner celebration at the SJK (C) Shang Wu.
The temple was built in 1862 by Miao Lean, a Taoist monk who first set his foot in Air Itam with the aim of spreading Taoism teachings.