From Kow Ong Yah swinging his sword about on the Opera stage to rituals of thanksgiving and dormitories full of loving friends, Day 6 at Kow Ong Yah temple in Ampang was a real feast for the senses. There were gongs and fires and whistles and smoke. There were traffic jams and lines for food. A friend asked me the other day what I do in Ampang when I visit. Well, yesterday was a great example of just how enriched my life is by this festival. I chased the mediums through the temple grounds and tried to photograph birds being released to the heavens. I talked to devotees and shot some portraits. I was inspired and challenged and exhausted and loved every minute of it. I also liaised with many photographers and encouraged them to send me links to their photos. We know that there are many ways to shoot this festival and all of you are welcome to post links to your own work here. We can use this as a community portal – a digital version of the festival lantern pole that reaches to the skies.
So here are a few photos from yesterday. There are many more I could share but will save them for a quieter day.
Let’s start with food. Not only did the ladies in the kitchen prepare 3 meals for the hundreds of devotees at the temple, they also prepared 100 buckets of food to ceremonially feed the armies of the generals that protect the festival grounds. The woks were full all day.
Later in the day, I was treated to a delicious bowl of noodles mixed with some yummy black vinegar.
There was all that and more, including some important rituals throughout the day. The mediums got started at the main altar with a show of strength and control. The gods had arrived to inspect and protect the festival.
Late in to the night, crowds gathered to watch the opera performance.
It was quite a show of glitz and glamour!
And with that, I headed out in to the massive traffic jam, and drove the wrong way along the road marked “laluan sehala” just for the fun of it. I could barely pull myself away. Headed back up there now for more!