Oct 2015 - Nine emperors

For all those who couldn’t make it to the Nine Emperor Gods Temple Tour held in Nan Tiong Gong Temple, you missed a treat. Michelle organized it impeccably as she always does (thanks Michelle).


Cheryl Hoffman, a self-confessed festival freak, guided us around giving information or interpretation whenever we reached something amazing. And there was much that was amazing (thanks Cheryl).


Starting at the main gate we looked up and saw magnificent towers either side of an arch where two dragons were growling at each other.


As in all lunar calender events, dates are important. At this Taoist temple the festival starts on the ninth day of the ninth month and goes on for nine days. At the first stop, Cheryl explains, this is the urn of the most senior God: the Jade God. We watch and sniff (eyes streaming) as the people (not a crowd because this was morning – the crowds come later) lit incense sticks and poked them into the Jade God’s urn. 


The Nine Emperor Gods have the same father and are represented by nine stars in the night sky called the Big Dipper. They have their own urn so incense sticks were lit and stuck in them.

The mother of the Gods was not a God (or even a goddess) she did the washing, cooking and cleaning (what’s new?). People camp in dormitories within the Temple for the nine days of the festival, so there is plenty of washing, cooking and cleaning by the women who attend and who represent the Mother. The helpers must wear white and only strict vegetarian food is consumed on the premises.

Now, if I have got some of these facts wrong, my only excuse is there were so many facts. I suggest you go on the Temple tour yourself next year and you will get a clearer picture. 

Judyth Gregory-Smith