Tua Pek Kong Temple ready for Chinese New Year celebration

The traditional lanterns are also hung on the century-old tree at the entrance of the temple compound.

SIBU: The Tua Pek Kong Temple here is all geared up for the Chinese New Year celebration as seen from the over 1,000 traditional lanterns hung up by the committee to brighten up the festival.

The longevity stone turtle outside the temple is also decorated with the red lanterns.

Temple chairman Penghulu Soon Choon Hoo said the temple had been brightly lit nightly since last Friday, when they held a ceremony to send off the deities to heaven.

He said according to tradition, the deities return to heaven on the 24th day of the 12th month of the lunar calendar to celebrate the new year in heaven before returning on the fourth day of the new year.

“We have done spring cleaning after sending off the deities and changed the altar cloths. The house of worship is sparkling clean now. We have even put new attires on the statues of the deities.”

Soon said the temple was now ready to usher in the biggest festival of the year – the Lunar New Year – which is the Year of the Dog before the clock strikes 12 tonight.

He said they are expecting a crowd of over 10,000 during the eve of the New Year tonight, who come to pray for blessings.

He also said during the 15 days of the celebration, three major events would be held – the worship on the New Year eve, celebrating the birthday of Jade Emperor deity on the ninth day and the Chap Goh Meh celebration to wrap up the celebration.

The backyard of the temple is also painted red by the lanterns.

“Chinese New Year is the most colourful celebration of the year.”

He said after the worship on New Year Eve, the temple would burst into cultural colours the next morning with performances by the lion and dragon dance troupes.

Soon said they were cutting back on incense burning to reduce smoke.

“We no longer burn giant joss sticks. We burn the ordinary ones for less smoke. We appeal to the worshippers to follow suit.”

He said the temple committee would give out 10,000 ang pows on the first day of the festival to the worshippers, both young and old.

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