GEORGE TOWN, Feb 23 – Thousands devotees celebrate Jade Emperor’s Birthday Celebration, who know as Thiⁿ-kong Seh in Hokkien, at Chew Jetty in Weld Quay here this evening together with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. Rhythmic playing of cymbals and wafting smoke of incense greeted locals and tourists alike who flocked to the site from 7pm despite a drizzle.
Devotees flocked around the 36.5m-long altar that had various offerings like rice wine, ang koo (bean paste cake), mee koo (red tortoise bun) huat kuih (prosperity cake), roasted meat and fruits placed on it. Giant ‘dragon’ joss sticks and sugar cane stalks encircled the altar. At the stroke of midnight, fireworks and firecrackers light up the night skies as devotees offer prayers to the Jade Emperor.
Minna Midtgaard, who from Denmark, said she is 1st time visit Penang. She said she found this event by Google Search and check it out personally in Penang. She said she like the atmosphere in Penang with having fun to see it.
Loke Hui Wen, who from Penang and her boyfriend Choo Jun How, who from Kuala Lumpur, said this is the first time they worship to Jade Emperor at Chew Jetty.
“This is the first year we worship to Jade Emperor at Chew Jetty while previously my parents pray it at home. We worship Jade Emperor with mee koo, huat kuih and some fruit. We worship for success and smooth for work, faithful and health on this whole year,” Loke said.
Chew Jetty Kongsi chairman Chew Choon Seng said this was the 111th year the residents of the clan jetty had held a mass Jade Emperor Birthday Celebration. Among those at the Chew Jetty celebration with Lim were Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang, Tanjong MP Ng Wei Aik, Sungai Pinang assemblyman Lim Siew Khim, Komtar assemblyman Teh Lai Heng and Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Lau Keng Ee.
In additional, Barisan Nasional politicians also joined the devotees at Chew Jetty. They were included Penang MCA chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng, Penang MCA secretary Dr Tan Chuan Hong, Komtar MCA task force chief Tan Hing Teik, Padang Kota MCA task force chief Lim Swee Bok, Penang Gerakan Chairman Teng Chang Yeow, Gerakan vice-chairman Oh Tong Keong and Wanita Gerakan Penang chief Hartini Tan.
Jade Emperor’s Birthday Celebration is one of the most important days of Chinese New Year which falls on the ninth day of the lunar new year. It is a Taoist celebration but in Penang, where most of the ethnic Chinese are predominantly Hokkien, the celebration is also one steeped in culture and traditions. — PN