Nov 2017 - The Nine Emperor Gods
The Nine Emperor Gods

The Nine Emperor Gods festival is always a sight to behold and this year was no different.  The sights and sounds that surround this festival are amazing and awe inspiring.

The festival itself always falls at the beginning of the 9th Lunar month and lasts the first nine days of that month.  It begins with the arrival of the Nine Emperor Gods and a procession from the river to the Ampang temple and ends the same way, with the gods leaving via the river as it is believed that the gods travel through the waterways.

The atmosphere is alive with all manner of celebration. Devotees arrive at the festival and pay respects with offerings, incense and candles dressed all in white. Many devotees stay at the temple for the duration of the festival and eat a strictly vegetarian diet for nine days.  This is not required as there are many that come to the temple daily for worship.

The MCG group, led by Cheryl Hoffmann, visited the festival on the 6th day this year. We met at a café for an in-depth explanation of the things we were getting ready to witness.  She explained where the Nine Emperor gods live (in the big dipper), how they arrive (via the waterway and then chariot) and how they depart (from chariot back to the waterway).  She helped us understand the Yin and Yang and how the festival works to balance these again. After the café visit, we ventured out into the temple grounds. We were able to visit the many different areas of the temple grounds as well as the living quarters for the devotees.  We met many lovely aunties in these living quarters. They were more than happy to talk with us and share their stories of past festivals.  We then had a delicious vegetarian lunch and also visited the backstage area of the Chinese Opera house while  actors were preparing for their next performance to entertain the Gods.

The afternoon culminated with the mediums going in to trance in front of the devotees in order to carry out the ritual ceremony of feeding of the armies of the generals. These spirit generals protect the sacred temple grounds during the festival. Hundreds watch over the proceedings of the day with smiles.

The Nine Emperor Gods temple visit is one that is not to be missed. I highly encourage those interested in the tour to sign up quickly next year. It will leave you refreshed and with a new understanding of another aspect of the beautiful culture of Malaysia!



Michelle Dye