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February 19, 2010

"Receiving the Gods" celebration ceremonies at Cheow Leng Beo

Dear Folks,

I have never attended any celebration on "Receiving the Gods" by any Henghwa-affiliated temple and so this one at Cheow Leng Beo held on 17 February was quite an eye opener to me.

 Sandalwood and joss paper arranged in a big pile outside the temple, this was where the eye-opener started (There are 2 temples in the same complex, Cheow Leng Beo is on the left)

Chanting was done and the burnt talisman placed into the pile  

Another eye-catching item: dragon-head like stick (扶乩 in Chinese, "Hu Gi" in Hokkien)

Those holding the "Hu Gi" seemed to be in a semi-trance state as they moved along with it, even writing Chinese characters on yellow paper that looked like talismans

After the pile of sandalwood and joss paper was burnt, together with beating of drums and gong, the Tangki mediums started going into trances and almost all of them walked over the fire after several attempts. Sedan chair carriers also went into semi-trance as the sedan chairs "moved". An onlooker said that the main Tangki (elderly guy) got the other Tangkis into a trance by touching them. At this moment, it was as if the space within the temple compound has been transformed into a theatrical and ritual space where the Tangki mediums and sedan chair carriers "performed". Women were not allowed near this space (I was pulled away and warned by an elderly lady) until the whole ceremony is over.

It was indeed a spectacular evening for me. 

Address of Cheow Leng Beo: 525 Yishun Industrial Park A 
(Take 811 from Yishun Interchange and alight at Blk 289 Yishun Ave 7. The temple is about 10 minutes walk from the bus stop)

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