My introduction to the Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Penang has been Hong Kong St. And I’m learning fast that there is a lot going on all around me!
There are hawker stalls selling tastey vegetarian food for the devotees – identifiable by the yellow banner.
The prayer shops are full to overflowing.
There is a small temple called Tiong Sim Thnuah in a shop house across the street from Tow Boh Keong that has a special lure. They are drawing energy from Tow Boh Keong, for sure, but have their own traditional rituals. Late on the evening of invitation, the drums were loud, the trances intense and the energy contagious.
They use this implement called a “yuki” to call the gods. It is held by two men at one time, to create a kind of brotherhood trance. More on this later, I hope, as I spend some time there and talk to them.
A short distance from Hong Kong St is an old temple to Kwan Yin Hood Chor, that opens up a special side altar to the Nine Emperor Gods for the festival dates. Its location on Jalan Burma makes it very accessible and therefore very popular with Penangites and tourists alike. It lights up at night like this…