Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

  • Wednesday, February 15, 2017
  • By eepin
  • 0 Comments

On the 8th day night of the Chinese New Year, the Hokkien people celebrate the Jade Emperor, also known as Sky God's birthday. While individual families pray at home, Chew Jetty folks organize a mass praying at Weld Quay annually, joined by thousands of devotees across the regions and tourists.

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival


Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

The crowd flocked into Weld Quay when the dusk begins to celebrate this annual festival. A major altar was placed at the entrance of Chew Jetty, with offerings such as ang ku (bean paste cakes), huat kuih (prosperity cakes), fruits and roasted pork on it as offerings to the Jade Emperor. Sugar canes are tired to the sides of the altar. 

You might be wonder? Why sugarcane? My late grandmother shared with me it was a legend that the Hokkien people prayed to the Jade Emperor when they were being hunted by their enemies. Within a sudden, they found a sugarcane field, hid there and managed to flee the enemies. Thus, sugarcane is a must during the Jade Emperor's festival. You will see makeshift stalls around Penang Island selling sugarcane days before the festival. 

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

The altar was extended meters long to the Jade Emperor's shrine and full of various offerings by the residents' of Chew Jetty. Other than food, paper offerings mimic the lotus are laid on it as well. At the end of the day (12am), the paper offerings will be burnt as a gift to the deity.

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Praying candle are lighted up across the alter. In Chinese' belief, the candle light is meant to provide light (wisdom) to your life and breaking through the unseen paths. 

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Devotees are welcome to pray to the Jade Emperor. Wafting smoke of the incense intensified the celebration atmosphere. 

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

If you have some time to spare, walk into Chew Jetty and be amazed by its Chinese New Year's decorations. The entrance and temple are ornamented with red lanterns, while public also pray to the Jade Emperor at the permanent shrine there. 

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Get entertained by the dancers, drummers and singers' performance at the main stage in front of Chew Jetty throughout the night. If you have not seen any of the Chinese cultural performance, this night shall be the good opportunity. However be prepared to squeeze through the sweat of the crowd. 

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

There will be a few time slots for lion dance performances on the main street at the night, whereby you could easily locate them by spotting the pillars with different heights. In this modern digital era, it has become a phenomenon that everybody will take out their mobile phones to snap pictures of the lion dance performance. The beautiful sea of illuminating mobile phone screen definitely is a wonder moment to see, though focus shall be on the "lion" jumping without flaws through the pillars of different heights. Sometimes, the naughty "lion" might make some action on the pillars such as sleeping, shaking legs and etc. 

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Finally the praying ends/begins at 12am of the 9th day of Chinese Lunar Calendar, marked by the spectacular fireworks display. 

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

Often times, the local politicians will attend this annual event. The Penang Chief Minister, YAB Lim Guan Eng was sighted praying at main altar. Gosh, he was such a celebrity where all people could not resist to snap his pictures.

Chew Jetty Jade Emperor Festival

The locals around will also light up the firecrackers. Be wary not to be hit by the sparks!

If you are travelling to Penang on Chinese New Year, do not miss out this event! Just a few tips for you:

1) The vicinity of Chew Jetty & Weld Quay is blocked from traffic access. Be here early/walk here.
2) Do not worry about your dinner. There will be various makeshift stalls and coffee shop nearby.
3) Wear comfortable clothes and be prepared to squeeze through the exodus of people.
4) Fully charge your camera or mobile phones if you are someone who loves to take photos
5) Be curious! Ask the locals any questions you have and they will be delighted to answer you.
6) Just enjoy the night! 


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