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February 13, 2010

Celebrations with marionette performances in Xing An Tian Hou Gong

正月初四            接神
正月初九           玉皇寿诞
正月十五           元宵节
二月初二           头福
二月初十           陈靖姑寿旦(诞)
二月十九           观音寿旦(诞)
三月初十           鲁府姨妈寿旦(诞)鲁妈?
三月二三           妈祖旦(诞)
五月初五           端午节
五月初九           谢府大爷寿旦(诞)
六月初六           大伯公寿旦(诞)
六月十九           观音寿旦(诞)
七月初七           公妈寿旦(诞)
七月二三           张公寿旦(诞)
八月十五           中秋节
八月二三           田公元帅寿旦(诞)
九月十九           观音寿旦(诞)
十二月十六      尾福
十二月二四      送神 

Celebration in red denotes  the staging of string puppet performances by Sin Hoe Ping puppet troupe in Xing An Tian Hou Gong. From the celebrations of these various birthdays of deities included in this list, one can tell the main deities worshipped by the Henghua community.

About Xing An Tian Hou Gong 兴安天后宫

The origin of Xing An Tian Hou Gong is still unknown due to the lack of relevant sources. It was believed to be established around the 1920s. Pilgrims and worshippers from the Mazu temple in Meizhou brought the worshipping culture to Singapore where people could pray at 133 Queen Street. This became a site of spiritual support and activity for early Putian immigrants.

Since the 1940s, the Putian (Henghua) people had been organizing activities during the Seventh Lunar Month (
公建普度,中元节) in memory of their ancestors and to engage in expiatory purification of the spirits.

In 1957, the Henghua community established the Nanyang Putian Huiguan (南洋莆田会馆) and its first chairman was the late Mr. Su Zhi Xuan (苏志宣).

In 1972, being part of the city reconstruction scheme, Xing An Tian Hou Gong and the Nanyang Putian Huigian moved out of Queen Street to 16 Madras Road. The “Puxian amateur troupe” (莆仙业余剧团), a collaboration between Sin Hoe Ping and the then Xin De Yue troupe (“新和平”与“新得月”戏班) was formed in 1974 and performed during the celebration of Goddess Mazu’s birthday in 1975. It gained much support from the community and other Putian-affiliated temples also invited the troupe to perform with which they could stage more than 60 performances annually during the peak period. Unfortunately, after having performed for 10 over years, the troupe had to be dissolved because there were no new performers to take over the old and retiring performers.

In 1987, the site at Madras Street was requisitioned and the executive board of the temple and huiguan decided to purchase its new site at Geylang Lorong 3. After renovation works were completed in 1991, the temple and huiguan moved into the new building where it still stands today (see picture below).

(Source: Putian Association Singapore 50th Year Anniversary Complementary Magazine in Chinese)

A glimpse at Xing An Tian Hou Gong 兴安天后宫:

Main altar with Mazu in the middle 


Dua ya pek on the left side nearest to entrance


  1. Hello Sir/Ms/Madam
    I am a student working on a project regarding puppet shows in singapore and have found your website really informative. may i know if there are any puppet shows staged over the next few days?
    reply will be greatly appreciated :) thank you and have a happy chinese new year!

  2. Hi,

    Happy Chinese New Year to you too!

    Please look out for our updates on twitter and google calendar for the puppet performances.

    May I know what topic will you be doing with regards to the puppet shows?

  3. oh my project is to do with understanding the context of the puppet shows in the past and present. it's a social studies subject that aims to reconstruct singapore's history. yup

  4. Great to know. Let me know if you need other information on the puppet troupes. Most of the string puppet troupes available in Singapore are performed in the Hokkien dialect.

    It will be good if you focus on just one puppet genre i.e. string puppets or maybe glove puppets. If you include all, you may end up doing a general overview of all the puppet troupes in Singapore which is also okay but will take up a lot of time finding the information.

    For puppet shows in the past, you can read this book on "Past times: A Social History of Singapore". There is a chapter dedicated to the history of puppet troupes in Singapore.

    Keep me updated with your findings if possible. All the best for your project!

  5. thanks for the info!

  6. Typo: Xing An Tian Hou Gong 兴安天后宫 is located at Geylang Lor 33, not Geylang Lor 3.