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Nine Emperor Gods Festival
Seberang Perai and surrounding

How incredible are the sacrifices that people make to the gods! Take fasting, for instance. But the very feast, the holiday of praising the gods, is celebrated so massively, colorfully, and for such a long time that the gods can easily go blind or deaf from such a dazzling brilliance and joyful noise.

Such holidays are held throughout Southeast Asia, and the festival of the Nine Emperor Gods near Seberang Perai is especially colorful. Dancing is just the tip of an iceberg, and you will definitely remember these nine days of the festival for a lifetime.

The Taoist holiday takes place on October 13-21. Entire Asia seems to be buzzing with the noise of music and dancing. The festival came to Malaysia and neighboring countries from China, where nine gods were treated with particular reverence. According to a legend, they rule the universe and the stars and provide people with health, welfare, and wealth. The legend says that these gods were born from nine celestial bodies, seven of which are the stars of the Ursa Major constellation. On the first day of the holiday, a noisy and colorful procession of believers with songs and dances meet the gods who have descended to Earth. For nine days, they praise the gods, give them gifts, and then see them off.

If you decide to fling yourself into the holiday vibes to feel all its charm, get ready to exclude meat from your meals for nine days. But that is not the most shocking thing about festival rituals. As a sign of their steadfast faith and devotion, some believers walk on fire and pierce their cheeks with needles, not to mention their constant prayers. The sight is impressive! Through long prayers and meditation, a person sends themself into a trance and doesn’t feel pain during the rituals.

Most of the holiday is held quite peacefully and without blood. The festival is very colorful thanks to numerous light sources, the abundance of red, gold, and white colors.

Address: Lot 894 & 896, Mukim 14, Jalan Raja Uda, 12300 Butterworth, Penang

Published by

Diane Mikheeva

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