The DEVOTEES were back in full force for the Thnee Kong Seh (Jade Emperor’s Birthday) celebration at the Jade Emperor God Temple at the foot of Penang Hill in Ayer Itam.
Since Monday, they have been seen climbing the stairs of the temple to offer prayers to the Jade Emperor and other deities.
People with disabilities drove to the back entrance of the temple.
Temple custodian Tan Jue Hui said although more visitors showed up this year, other activities apart from prayers could not take place.
“Last year, only 30 people were allowed in at a time.
“This year we have limited the crowd to half capacity, which is around 200 people.
“Only the main and rear entrances are open with volunteers providing crowd control,” she said.
Among those who showed up were former classmates Yap Li Wen, Loh Kher Sin and Kee Chia Xuan, all 23 years old.
“This is our first time visiting the temple after reading on the internet.
“To avoid the crowds, we came early and prayed for peace and health for everyone due to Covid-19,” Yap said.
The celebration of Thnee Kong Seh begins on the night of the eighth day of Chinese New Year.
The next day is the Jade Emperor’s birthday, which is also considered the Hokkien New Year.
Bai Tian Gong is the prayer to give thanks to the Jade Emperor, who is the deity who is said to have saved the ancestors of the Hokkiens from an invading army.
Legend has it that Hokkians from Fujian Province in China survived persecution by hiding in a sugar cane plantation for nine consecutive days during Chinese New Year.
Hokkians have since celebrated the Lunar New Year on a larger scale on the ninth day.