Thursday, October 21, 2004

Unique way to fulfil vows


Unique way to fulfil vows

IPOH: A group of devotees enthralled the crowd who gathered here for the Nine Emperor Gods festival when they joined a procession with their cheeks pierced with a ladder, a “money tree,” a pitchfork, a hoe and even a ceiling fan.  

The group from the Mou San Sin See Temple in Kampar walked around town with a 2,000-strong procession for three hours yesterday.  

Other devotees had their cheeks pierced with two-metre long blades and six-metre long poles that had the crowd ducking whenever they spun around. 

GUTSY ACT: A devotee with his cheeks pierced with a ?money tree? taking part in the procession in Ipoh yesterday.
A devotee known only as Manmohan, 30, carried two bright blue umbrellas pierced through his right cheek. 

He said he kept his mind occupied with prayers throughout the 10km journey. 

Manmohan, who has been doing this for five years, said: “It hurt only a little as we went under a slight trance in the beginning.” 

On why he and his friends chose to carry such unusual items, he said: “It's for fashion reasons. We wanted to try something new.”  

A fellow devotee, Raja Sivalingam, 33, who carried a ceiling fan with moving blades, said some of them performed such acts to fulfil vows.  

Hundreds of people packed the streets to watch barefoot axe-wielding devotees, lion dance troupes, drumbeaters and deity carriages taking part in what is believed to be Ipoh’s largest Nine Emperor Gods festival. 

The grand procession, which left the Tow Boo Keong Temple at Jalan Tokong here at 8am, included school brass bands, singers and children carrying flowers. 

The festival which began last Thursday – the first day of the ninth lunar month – is dedicated to the nine sons of Tou Mu, the Goddess of the North Star, who is believed to control the Books of Life and Death. 

It ends this Saturday with a pilgrimage to the Kinta River and a ceremony where devotees will walk on fire.  

In Penang, thousands of devotees dressed in white converged at the Tow Boo Keong Temple in Lintang Macallum for the annual Nine Emperor Gods floats procession. 

SEEKING DIVINE BLESSINGS: Devotees carrying a boat-shaped float bearing the urns of the nine deities in a procession through the streets of George Town yesterday.
The inner streets of George Town took on a festive mood as the procession passed through Jalan C.Y. Choy, Beach Street, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, Lebuh Carnavon and Jalan Gurdwara before returning to the temple.  

Before the procession began in the morning, the urns of the nine brother deities were placed on a float.  

Six mediums went into a trance while some devotees had 1.5m skewers pierced through their cheeks. Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Lee Hack Teik, who joined the procession, said it was unique as it was held in the daytime. 

He added that the devotees took part in the procession to seek good luck, prosperity, wealth and longevity.  

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