Until early this morning, the temple was filled with smoke as devotees inched their way around holding joss sticks above their heads.
|Grand event: Devotees and visitors thronging Chew Jetty where a shrine-like structure called the Gate of Heaven was set up for the Jade Emperor God’s birthday|
The annual thanksgiving day is a grand occasion for the dominant Hokkien community in Penang.
At the Tai Kong Tong Temple, more than 800 beggars and homeless folk were treated to a meal of rice, chicken, fish, egg and vegetables.
Offerings like roast piglets, rice wine, ang koo (bean paste cakes), mee koo (red tortoise buns) and huat kuih (prosperity cakes) were surrounded by towering “dragon” joss sticks and sugar cane stalks.
Despite having to pay more for the sugar cane this year the “must have” item was offered in abundance to the deity.
According to a folklore, Hokkiens in Fujian province sought refuge in a sugar cane plantation when they were attacked during the Sung Dynasty.
They emerged unharmed nine days later and offered sugar cane to the Jade Emperor God as thanksgiving.
Source: Thousands of Hokkiens pay homage to deity