Sending-off Ritual

The Kew Ong Yah Temple conducts the Sending-off Ritual (送神)in the evening of the 9th day of the 9th lunar month. The Nine Emperor Gods Festival celebration reaches its climax on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month, when a procession that draws scores of devotees leaves the temple to send the deities off to the sea. In the practice of certain temples, the ritual of sending-off the Nine Emperor Gods is likened to sending Zheng Chenggong off on his mission to recruit more revolutionary martyrs.

Preparations for the sending-off ritual start in the afternoon, when temple assistants set up an altar along the banks of the Serangoon River. Once the altar is set up, temple assistants would place an urn on it, and pray to the Earth Gods of the Five Directions. Over at the Kew Ong Yah Temple, the Taoist priest would consecrate the Dragon Boat and the paper sculpture of Goddess of Mercy that is placed on the boat, before the boat is transported to the banks of the Serangoon River at 8 p.m. At 10 p.m., the sending-off procession that is led by four sedan chairs carrying statues of Qingshui Zushi, Tian Duyuanshuai, the sacred urn, and the Nine Emperor Gods tablet leaves Hougang Tao Mu Temple. Marching after the sedan chairs are floats, dragon and lion dancers, musicians, and puppets figurines of the Generals of the Five Camps. Devotees follow at the end of the procession in trucks, buses, cars, and taxis.

A Taoist priest consecrates the Dragon Boat.

The Dragon Boat is transported to the banks of the Serangoon River.

The Kew Ong Yah Temple conducts the Sending-off Ritual in the evening of the 9th day of the 9th lunar month. The Nine Emperor Gods Festival celebration reaches its climax on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month, when a procession that draws scores of devotees leaves the temple to send the deities off to the sea. In the practice of certain temples, the ritual of sending-off the Nine Emperor Gods is likened to sending Zheng Chenggong off on his mission to recruit more revolutionary martyrs. Preparations for the sending-off ritual start in the afternoon, when temple assistants set up an altar along the banks of the Serangoon River. Once the altar is set up, temple assistants would place an urn on it, and pray to the Earth Gods of the Five Directions.

Sedan under fireworks.

The sending-off procession follows closely after the Taoist priests.

Burning the memorials.

The Nine Emperor Gods urn is sent out to the sea.

The Dragon Boat is subsequently pushed out to the sea and burnt as a symbol of sending off the plague gods and bad luck. During the process, devotees kneel and bow from the shore, and shout “Huat ah!” (‘be prosperous’). With the devotees’ names pasted on the boat, their bad luck will be rid when the boat is burnt.

Committee members send the urn back to the sea in a boat.

Thousand devotees off the Nine Emperor God.