Online services to mark the festival

Regular devotees of a temple in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, may still mark the Nine Emperor Gods Festival despite the temple being closed throughout the festival this year.

Persatuan Penganut Dewa Kiew Ong Yeah Megat Harun brings the festival online by offering prayer packages to worshipers.

“These packages are sold online. Devotees can buy them and ask the temple to pray on their behalf, ”temple public affairs director Vincent Khaw said when he was met at the Jalan Megat Harun temple.

“This service allows the faithful to continue to fulfill their obligation without coming to the temple.

“We have incense and prayer paraphernalia packages that range in price from RM39 to RM99.

“So far, over 100 sets have been sold and orders continue to flow.

“This is the first time that the temple has hosted prayers online. We decided to do this in August when the number of Covid-19 cases was high.

Devotees gather to pray during the festival of the nine emperor gods in Bukit Mertajam before the pandemic. This year, celebrations are due to take place online for many of them. – Filepic

“Although we are permitted to operate under strict standard operating procedures, we do not encourage the public to come to the temple because many temple committee members are already in attendance,” he said.

The temple held a prayer session on October 8. Prayers will be held again today, which is the sixth day of the festival, and Thursday, the ninth day.

“There are several live video sessions on social media that worshipers can follow, although we are not hosting this year’s festival on a large scale.

“There will be no processions or opera performances this year,” Khaw said.

The temple also sells lotus candles at RM 10 each and dragon incense sticks at RM 60 each.

“There are also lanterns priced at RM99 and RM128 each, which will be hung in the temple for one year upon purchase.

“Payment can be made through electronic wallet platforms. “

The temple was founded in the 1940s and began celebrating the Festival of the Nine Emperor Gods in 1965.

This year’s festival will end on Thursday. It takes place on the first day of the ninth lunar month and is observed by the Taoist community.

Devotees observe a vegetarian diet during the festival which honors the Pole Star Goddess, who is believed to control the books of life and death.

Veronica J. Snell

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