4,000 devotees celebrate Jade Emperor's birthday at Loyang Tua Pek Kong temple in Changi
Newlyweds Careen Ang and her husband, both 28, were among the 4,000 devotees who thronged Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple in Changi last night.
They were there to pray and celebrate the Jade Emperor's birthday today, which falls on the ninth day of Chinese New Year.
Ms Ang, a pre-school teacher, said: "My parents and I have been visiting the temple to celebrate the Jade Emperor's birthday for the past 20 years. As my husband and I just got married last month, we prayed for a blissful marriage this time."
The Legend and Significant of Bai Tian Gong
The celebration of Jade Emperor’s birthday (Bai Tian Gong) has been inherited for thousand years since Tang Dynasty in China. It is said that during a Chinese New Year of Tang Dynasty, Huang Chao’s army had attacked the Hokkiens’ village in South China and came the kill.
Due to the misunderstanding caused by the costume and language barrier from the army and the Hokkiens, the army misinterpreted that the Hokkiens were a wolf that will harm them. It was because when “human” pronounce in Hokkien, the pronunciation is same with “wolf’ which pronounce in Chinese.
The Hokkiens could not resist from the army, therefore they hid themselves into a large sugarcane farm. When they were in the sugarcane farm, they prayed to the Jade Emperor for salvation.
Hokkiens’ New Year (福建人的新年)
Bai Tian Gong（拜天公）- The celebration of Jade Emperor’s birthday which fall on the 9th day of Chinese New Year
Red Turtle Cake（红龟糕）- Chinese red rice cake which considered an auspicious colour while its tortoise shell-shape symbolizes longevity
Huat Kueh（发糕）- A kind of steamed bun which the Chinese usually use for praying, while ‘Huat’ means wealth in Hokkien
House of Jade Emperor（天公座）- A type of paper offering which specially made dedicating to the Jade Emperor during Bai Tian Gong
Sugar cane（甘蔗）- Sugar cane in Hokkien dialect sounds like ‘kam siah’ (thank you), therefore the Hokkiens used a pair of sugarcane to express their appreciation to the Jade Emperor
Kongming Lanterns（孔明灯）- A small hot air balloon made of paper, with an opening at the bottom where a small fire is suspended. Usually the Chinese flies the lantern to make a wish
The Singapore Daily: Uniquely Singapore