The Nine Emperor Gods Festival is celebrated annually from the 1st day to the 9th day of the 9th Lunar Month in the Chinese calendar. For this year the Festival is from 15th to 23rd October inclusive.
The first temple in Penang to celebrate this Nine Emperor Gods Festival is the Goddess of Mercy Temple in Jalan Burma, which is about 12 minutes walk from our 1926 Heritage Hotel. Although this temple was built about 90 years ago, they only started to celebrate this Festival about 70 years ago.
Devotees observe a strict vegetarian diet and will throng this temple to pray to the Nine Emperor Gods. A bamboo pole is erected outside the temple and at 7.00 p.m. every evening for 9 days, 9 lighted lamps will be raised by a pulley system to the top of this pole and the lamps will only be lowered at about 6.30 a.m. in the morning.
Devotees who go to pray will ask for blessings by having their names, gender and dates of birth written and pasted on little paper dolls. Prayers will then be conducted and these dolls will be burnt to invoke the blessing of the Nine Emperor Gods.
On the evening of the 9th day of the Festival, a boat filled with praying paraphernalia, rice, sugar, vegetarian dishes and other essential stuff will leave for the Tan Jetty in Weld Quay for the annual sending-off ceremony followed by devotees. Please note that the colour used for this Festival is yellow.
Goddess of Mercy Temple, Jalan Burma, Penang (on non-Festival days)
Front of Temple showing the bottom of the bamboo pole during the Nine Emperor Gods Festival
Top portion of the bamboo pole erected outside the Temple for hoisting 9 lamps daily at 7 p.m.
Brightly-lit temple with 9 lamps hanging from the bamboo pole at night
Devotees praying at the altar of Nine Emperor Gods in the Right Hall of the Temple
Little paper figures with names of devotees, gender and dates of birth to invoke the blessing of the Nine Emperor Gods
Boat to be used for the sending-off ceremony on the evening of the 9th day of the Festival
Altar of Goddess of Mercy in the Central Hall of Temple