Travelling with Tow Boh Keong, Hong Kong Street, Penang
Let’s start with a photo of the Hong Kong St Temple leaving for the procession in Air Hitam (Farlim Temple) on Saturday evening. It’s been a goal/dream of mine to ride in a lion dance truck at Chinese New Year. But this might be better. I got to ride with Tow Pek Gong (can you see his beard blowing in the wind?), the beating drums and symbols, two awakened lions up front, and a group of guys who wanted to look very serious when I took their photo. Here’s the view out the front, with the yellow boat in the truck leading the way along Lebuh Kimberly.
The procession was great fun too. Farlim temple sits up on a hill and I slogged up there when we first arrived to see some mediums being skewered with what I like to call “the Penang-style” implements. Could they be a little longer!? These guys are brave. Later on the parade route, this guy was actually trying to smile for the camera.
At one point during the procession, one of these mediums was doing a twirling action with firecrackers on the end of the skewer, like the one pictured here, and the string of firecrackers flew off and in to the crowd! That’s crazy!
I also wanted to share this photo of Kow Ong Yah, whom I hadn’t encountered in Penang in the first few days of the festival. There is a lot more of the Tow Boh/Duo Mou worship in Penang along with the gods that I am learning come with that. I was pleased as punch to see him and it reminded me of my good friends in Ampang and all the fun they must be having. This really is how I like to see him! An apparition.
The procession was a good hike for the team from Hong Kong St who carried the Emperor’s yellow boat for the 8 km procession route.
We were all pretty tired by the time we got back into the trucks, and the ride home was almost surreal. One of the lions even decided to sleep.
There are so many events happening for the Nine Emperor Gods festival in Penang that I can’t possibly come close to providing a schedule for all of the temples. We are getting ready for the send off on Wednesday evening, that much I know. Many of the temples will be making their way to the sea to send off the Emperor in a joyous mingling of fire and water. There will be a lot of rituals and prayers at the Hong Kong St temple for the last few days of the festival, mainly in the evening. Stay tuned.