Tag Archives: Ampang

Blogging from my Website!

If you are looking for information on the 2013 Nine Emperor Gods festival, please click HERE which will take you to the blog on my website.  See you there!

All the posts about the Nine Emperor Gods Festival can be found on my website.

All the posts about the Nine Emperor Gods Festival can be found on my website.

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It’s Time Again for the Nine Emperor Gods!

The Nine Emperor Gods Festival begins on Oct 4th!  At Kau Ong Yah in Ampang they are already making preparations to the grounds and the dormitory rooms are selling quickly. I’ve updated the calendar for the Ampang Festival and you can see it to the left here. Activities vary between the temples but the invitation and send-off dates are the same for all.

Wherever we celebrate – Ampang, Penang, Johor, Kajang, Singapore, Hat Yai, Muar, Sg Petani, or any of the places in between – we can look forward to good friends enjoying the blessings of the Nine Emperor Gods together.  I’ll be posting from various locations so please follow along and share with your friends.

Oct 22 (Day 8 Bridge Crossing) and Oct 23 (Day 9 Firewalking) at Kow Ong Yah Ampang

If you thought Day 6 rocked at the Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Ampang, hold on to your hat as we head in to Day 8 and Day 9.  The next two days are all about bringing the cosmos back into balance through special ceremonies.

You might want to look at this post on my website instead.  If so, find it here: cheryljhoffmann.com

Check the schedule in the side bar for start times.  Photographers should come early.  These are photos that I took in 2010 of the festivities in Ampang.  They will give you an idea of what you will see there during the last two days of the festival.

DAY 8 – Bridge Crossing.  See my post from two years ago about Day 8. On Day 8 (Monday Oct 22) the bridge walking ceremony starts at 8pm – a time when the community can participate in a ritual of cleansing and blessing.  It is the day of bringing “yin”, our watery side, into balance.  Kow Ong Yah sits at the end of the bridge on a chair of nails and blesses the devotees as they cross.  I love this event, because Kow Ong Yah wears his beautiful yellow robes and  his hat with the long pheasant feathers and it looks really awesome.  It’s a great time, because everyone gets to participate, unlike the fire-walking that is restricted to men only, and then only some men as well.

Here is what it will look like this afternoon with the vendors moved out from in front of the temple:

If we are blessed with a clear sky tonight, photographers should watch for the lovely combination colours and silhouettes.

Tonight everyone can cross the bridge, even those who haven’t kept a strict vegetarian diet.  Don’t be shy!  It brings luck if you cross.  The mediums go first and bless the way.

DAY 9 A day of inspecting the grounds, feeding the army, Firewalking, and the glorious send-off procession. Today is about “Yang”, about balance and about the mediums acting on behalf of the community.  The gods show up and the day is action packed and packed with visitors.  See my post from 2010 on Day 9 at Kow Ong Yah in Ampang.

Preparation of the fire pit starts early.

The mediums are in full swing all day!  Here is Kow Ong Yah proving his worth.  I love this photo for the guys in the background, as well as for the energy! 

If you come early, you can watch the preparation of the fire pit. The area is fenced to keep people back as it gives off a lot of heat in the early stages of burning.

Sorry, no female photographers allowed inside the fence.  And also it takes press credentials to get inside for the fiery close ups.

Never mind though.  If you are inside the fence, you don’t get to photograph all that goes on outside the fence ie – the feathers again!

As I once heard Joe McNally say – Don’t complain about lack of access.  Make it work.  Be grateful for being there and the opportunity to make images. Of course he said it with a story and much more poetically!  From outside the fence, I shot this, and many more, in 2010. 

The festival quiets down a bit after the firewalking and the crowds disperse.  But a lot still happens after that and into the wee hours of the morning.  The opera troupe comes to perform important rituals at the altar in front of the temple at about midnight.

If you are really keen (and you should be!) stay around for the procession to send the Emperor back to the heavens.  It leaves the temple at about 2am.  Despite the late hour, this procession is attended by thousands and is RELA’s last chance of the festival to boss us around!

Everyone is pretty tired at the end of the nine days but the send off is a joyous celebration of blessings received, as the Emperor heads off into the night to return to the heavens.

I hope to see you there to share in all of the excitement!  Cheryl

Day 6 Rocks Ampang

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.

Members of the committee also chipped in.  Here my good friend Koh Ping and Mr Low Ching Poh help to serve food to devotees in the early morning.

Later in the day, I was treated to a delicious bowl of noodles mixed with some yummy black vinegar.

Is that enough about food?  But let’s not forget that other Malaysian passion – shopping!  

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.

Kow Ong Yah made his way throughout the whole grounds, visiting the four corners, the altars, the kitchens and the dormitories.

 

This is an exciting time for the devotees who get to pay their personal respects to the Emperor and also receive his blessing. 

It didn’t rain all day in Ampang although we could hear the thunder booming.  The evening sky was as glorious as the colours of the festival. 

In one particularly joyous moment, members of the opera troupe brought their baby god to the main altar so that it could be part of the ritual ceremony of the evening.  

On the evenings of  days 3, 6 and 9, special prayer items are passed, person to person, from altar to altar in a ceremony that I like to call “the round and round”.  

As the crowds came back in to the temple after the ceremony, joss sticks and smoke filled the space, bringing tears to our eyes.  Meanwhile, the medium offered believers the advice of the god.

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!

An Evening’s Invitation – and lots of photos

If you are a photographer, you need to be here!  If you love color, you need to be here! If, like me, you love high energy and friendly crowds and just plain fun, you need to be here! Don’t just take my word for it.  Check out Sean Liew’s blog for great photos and entertaining comments on yesterday at Kow Ong Yah Ampang.  I handed out a lot of cards yesterday to a lot of photographers and asked them to post their photos and send me a link.  Let’s share the joy of this festival.

I hope that you enjoy these selected images from last night when the festivities got underway with the grand procession to invite the Emperor to the temple.The excitement started building at about 5:30pm with the arrival of the dragons and lions.

Then the temple gods went for a ride in their beautiful sedan chairs accompanied by cheers and shouts to encourage Prosperity and Good Health.

Thousands of people joined the procession through Pekan Ampang.

On the banks of the Klang River, the Emperor was invited from the Heavens and escorted securely through the night back to the temple.

The fantastic glow of flourescent light!

The devotees prostrated themselves upon the arrival of the Emperor.

Fireworks seen through the feathers atop the monkey god’s head.

Mediums announced the arrival of the Emperor with unselfish acts of strength.

The umbrella was guided gently into the temple.

The devotees broke through the RELA line, impatient to be the first to pray to the Emperor.

Meanwhile, the Amoy opera got started across the street.  Monday evening will be their first full-scale performance.

By midnight, many of the devotees had called it a day, rebuilding their energies for an early morning start.

The Beauty of the World

I took this shot this morning at the Nine Emperor Gods Temple.  The Swamiji from a neighbouring Hindu temple came to pay his respects.  Such a lovely moment.  Sorry no time to post more.  Lots going on up there and the procession preparations are underway.  The lantern pole is up and ready.  It took a while to get it balanced but the fact that it is now perfect bodes well for the next 9 days.

Watch Sean’s view from above


Watch Sean’s blog for these great views from on high! http://up-your-toot.blogspot.com/

A Day of Preparations at the Nine Emperor Gods Festival

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Saturday was the day that devotees could come to the Ampang temple and get their rooms and beds for this year’s festival dates. It was great to see some friends, observe the temple cleaned up and ready to go, and feel the energy as we get ready to invite the Emperor and his entourage on Monday night.

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There was quite a crowd gathered as the organizing committee worked hard to get the devotees their preferred spaces.

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Meanwhile, the vendors’ supplies were arriving and the mood was jovial.

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Here are members of the organizing committee and some volunteers discussing how it all happens, a little politics, and the value of a good cup of Chinese tea.

See you from the Hong Kong St Temple in Penang!

2011 Nine Emperor Gods Festival Starts next week!


It’s time to get the dates on your calendar so that you don’t miss the events of 2011! This year’s Nine Emperor Gods festival begins with a procession to collect the Emperor. The procession takes place the evening of Sept 26th – that’s Monday. In Ampang, the procession starts at about 8pm from the Kau Ong Yah Lam Thian Kiong Temple at about 8pm and returns, in a raucous parade of lions and dragons and devotees, to the temple at about midnight. I will miss the Ampang festivities this year – but I will be in Penang at a lovely, small Nine Emperor Gods Temple on Hong Kong St. I will be blogging from there, so stay tuned for updates on the Emperor from Penang! Meanwhile, if you are a newcomer, I suggest that you browse back through the posts from last year and that will help you get acquainted with what goes on in Ampang. I’ve posted a schedule of events at the Ampang temple in a list on the left here. Hope that helps my KL friends. Enjoy!

Kau Ong Yah pays a visit to Ampang last May!


A few months ago the Kau Ong Yah Lam Thian Kiong Temple of Ampang held a 20 Km radius Ancestor and Thanksgiving ritual. It was a beautiful ceremony over several days in which the temple fulfilled its obligations to the Lost Souls roaming about the Ampang area. The festivities were complete with a special visit by Kau Ong Yah, resplendent paper mansions and a huge burning. Here are some of my photos.  This was just one way that the temple is preparing for this year’s Nine Emperor Gods Festival.

Goddess of Mercy

Homes for the Lost Souls – with all the luxuries!

The heavens participated one evening with a great lighting show.

Koh Ong Yah was in residence during the ceremonies

Paper Gods carried to the open lot for burning

Some familiar faces around to help out

It all made for a huge symbolic fire.