Nine Emperor Gods Festival
The Festival of the Nine Emperor Gods falls on the ninth day of the ninth moon in the Chinese lunar calendar. Devotees flock to the temples throughout the country for this religious festival.
The Nine Emperor Gods are part of a spirit-medium cult known locally as ‘Jieu Hwang Yeh’. These Nine Deities are believed to dwell in the stars in heaven under the reign of ‘Thien Hou’ - the Queen of Heaven.
On the eve of the ninth moon, temples of the Deities hold a ceremony to invoke and welcome the ‘Jien Hwang Yeh’. Since the arrival of the Nine Emperor Gods is believed to be through the waterways, processions are held from temples to the sea-shore or river to symbolise this belief. Devotees dressed in traditional white, carrying joss-sticks and candles, await the arrival of their “Excellencies”.
A carnival-like atmosphere pervades the temple throughout the nine-day festival. During this period of time, the constant tinkling of a prayer bell and chants from the temple priests are heard. Most devotees stay at the temple, take vegetarian meals and recite continuous chanting of prayer.
A procession to send the Nine Emperor Gods home then takes place to complete the rites of this religious festival.