Friday, February 08, 2008

Lunar New Year of the Rat 2008: Walk of Faith

During the first day of the Lunar Chinese New Year, most Chinese would take a "Walk of Faith" and visit the temples for some prayers. Though many of the local Chinese have taken up different faiths, but this practise has since become a tradition. These practises are done for a common objective, a good year of wealth, prosperity, peace, health and luck!

I visited three different temples on the first day of the Lunar New Year, all located in the different parts, East, Central and West of Singapore. With all respects to the deities and buddhas, here are some 'daring' snapshots of these places of worship.
Photography by William Tan
©William Tan 2008

洛陽大伯公宫
Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple
The first stop is none other than the popular "Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple" located in the Eastern part of Singapore. "大伯公" (Tua Pek Kong) is a deity of worshipped by many families in Singapore and of course, Malaysia. This is due to its Malaysian-related belief.
The "Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple" has received plenty of donations from many devotees and has since moved to their newer and grander temple. They also have return the general public by providing aid and services. It is quite easy to spot an ambulance sponsored by the temple. It comes as no surprise for a Taoist temple like this to honor different Taoism deities together with Buddhas, butthis temple actually worships Hindu deities eg. Ganesha as well.
elaborate decorations on the ceiling of the main hall
Tua Pek Kong and two flanking deities.
Right image shows some idols of the sixty stars or 太岁 (Tai Sui, Stars or Generals). Many Chinese will take particular attention to the praying of the Tai Sui, as during every year, those born in the year of certain zodiac horoscopes will offend the Tai Sui of that year. A prayer needs to be made to appease the deity to ward of the possible misfortunes and ill luck.
a big dog sleeps soundly despite a crowded and noisy temple as he occasionaly takes a peek

more elaborate motifs of gold and red on the altars and ceiling.

making offerings of candles and incense

a devotee hanging up a spiral incense.
the Hindu chapel within the temple premises.


a huge inflatable balloon of the "God of Fortune" intended for the welcoming prayer early in the morning of the first day of the Lunar New Year.


普济寺
Pu Ji Si
"Pu Ji Si" just moved to a new complex located in Geylang, Central Singapore. This is where my grandmother's ancestral tablet is worshipped. This temple worships Bhaiṣajyaguru (薬師瑠璃光如来 or Lord Medicine Buddha or in short, 藥師佛). 藥師佛 represents the healing aspect of Lord Buddha Sakyamuni.
This is a simple temple compared to other Buddhist temples.

medicine buddha lamps sponsorships



an image of Avalokitesvara made with tiny seashells.


城皇廟
Cheng Hwang Temple
I do not know much about this Taoist temple and the worshipped deity, but I will annually visit this temple located in Jurong, the West of Singapore. This temple holds big ceremonies for the worshipping of 太岁 (Tai Sui, Stars or Generals). In the same temple premises, there is a chapel that worships Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (觀音, Kwan Yin Pu Sa or Goddess of Mercy). The 'co-worshipping' of Taoist deities with Avalokitesvara is dated back to the old days in China when the Chinese accepted the benevolence of Buddhism into their lives of Toasim.








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