Visits to Jelutong and Noordin St Nine Emperor God Temples

I visited two nearby temples yesterday to note some similarities and differences from the Tow Boh Keong, Hong Kong St temple. First off, I noticed that both of these temples use the Chinese Junk as their symbol. This of course conjures up images of Fujian sea farers and their migration to the Malay penninsula, religious traditions in tow.

Both temples were having their popular “show” -blaring music and bright lights that contrasted strongly with the Amoy opera that I am used to in Ampang and the quiet and perhaps more reverent setting of Hong Kong St (so far).  One of the groups performing at Jelutong was called Dee Boss!  Here is the scene from upstairs at the altar in Jelutong. Note the ornate boat on the left that is new and will be part of the upcoming processions.  Jelutong temple will have its procession on Sunday evening and then will take this float out again on the last night to send off the Emperor.

And while we are on the topic of boats – here is the float from the Noordin St temple and in front of it, the small yellow boat that will be towed out to sea and set aflame when it is time to send the Emperor off.This small boat is on wheels and will be pulled, whereas the Hong Kong St boat is carried, palaquin style.  Have I shown you the Hong Kong St boat yet?  Here it is just after the lights were installed on it.The Jelutong boat is a bit larger than these two, but all are seaworthy and will float even when heavily laden with rice, sandalwood, joss sticks, candles and the Emperor’s urn.The Noordin St Temple, officially named Tow Moo Keong, is undergoing renovations and so this year the arrangement of the altars is a bit haphazard.  However, the artifacts and deities are really impressive.  Check out this huge urn.In contrast, the Tow Moo is very tiny and encased in a rather secretive dark altar (making it very difficult to photograph).I especially liked the symbols for the five Taoist directions on the Generals altar and the brocaded yellow curtain.  I think this is the first I have seen that is so ornate.I also really like the three pronged plaque in behind the deity.The model of the Junk is a nice touch.

The Jelutong temple, officially the Tow Boe Keong Kew Ong Tai Tay, has a different geography.  To begin with, the inner altar is upstairs from the main temple.  From a distance it appears to hang in mid air above the temple.The altar upstairs includes a large Tow Boe and, to my delight, statues of the Nine Emperor Gods themselves, lined up in three columns of three, with the other deities on the main altar.  The yellow curtain, in this case, was actually two curtains, one of each side of the altar.  The heavy smoke from the joss sticks gave the deities an aura of mystery.  Quite lovely.  Here is a sample…I want to finish my post today with one of my favorite shots from the last few days.  When we arrived at the Jelutong Temple, there was a medium in trance, providing advice to the temple on how to proceed with the festival.  I caught these people in an intense moment of communication with the gods – asking and listening.

5 responses to “Visits to Jelutong and Noordin St Nine Emperor God Temples

  1. this webby is good,hope can get all the penang NINE EMPEROR GOD TEMPLE processing way,date n time start,from where to where finish:) ,even like today on SUNDAY got fuction processing way from JELUTONG POST OFFICE start n finish at WHERE lol,if today me no past that side,me also don know got this FUCTION lol,hope can POST any good fuction of processing way in future at this WEBBY !!!!! tq tq

    • @guykin I wish I knew when everything was happening. I would be happy to share it too. Why don’t you get the community to post comments on here. Whenever someone knows that something is going on, he/she could post it here. A facebook group would be better but no time to set that up now. That’s why this is fun. It’s full on with no time to do anything but react to what is happening. Do say hello if you see me.

  2. Hi Cheryl. Bet you must be having the time of your life up in Penang! I’m still stuck with work in KL and am really wondering if I’m going to get to go up to Penang at all 😦 Still keeping my fingers crossed that I can be there on the final day.

  3. Today most Nine Emperor God temples do not acknowledge the existence of Dou Fu Yuan Jun. .On the eve of the ninth moon temples of the deities hold a ceremony to invoke and welcome the nine emperors.

    • @ Panama. Thank you for bringing this up. The traditions of the Nine Emperor Gods temples vary greatly. It’s very complex. I make no claims to trying to explain the religious permutations. I know that Wikipedia does mention the decline of the Dou Fu. The Dou Mu traditions appear to be strong in the Penang area. We are in agreement that the temples invite the Nine Emperors, likely represented by one. The influence of the North Star and South Star traditions are also important here, but, I am not an expert and do not attempt to explain. I offer what I see through my lens.

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