Newlyweds among devotees at Jade Emperor’s birthday
4,000 devotees celebrate Jade Emperor's birthday at Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple in Changi
Newlyweds Careen Ang and her husband, both 28, were among the 4,000 devotees who thronged Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple in Changi last night.
They were there to pray and celebrate the Jade Emperor's birthday today, which falls on the ninth day of Chinese New Year.
Ms Ang, a pre-school teacher, said: "My parents and I have been visiting the temple to celebrate the Jade Emperor's birthday for the past 20 years. As my husband and I just got married last month, we prayed for a blissful marriage this time."
The couple and Ms Ang's parents also wished for health and happiness.
Devotees started arriving at the temple as early as 9pm yesterday, with their names, home addresses and well wishes written on joss paper that were offered to the Emperor.
Some also took what is known as the "Five Colours", which is an offering of pears, apples, Chinese pears, oranges and pineapples.
Mr Sim Mong Hua, 59, who works in the hardware industry, spent about $25 this year on his offering of fruits.
He was at the temple with his 57-year-old wife and 24-year-old daughter.
This is the sixth time the family is visiting the temple for the celebration.
Mr Sim said: "It has become a tradition for our family to visit the temple yearly for this event. We wished for a blessed and smooth year ahead."
Offerings prepared by the temple included a lavish spread of roast ducks, fish, fruits, cakes and red eggs, laid out on a large stage.
The temple's event coordinator, Mr Jeffery Tan, 58, has been seeing an increasing number of people visiting the temple for the Jade Emperor's birthday celebration with every new year.
He said: "Praying at home requires much preparation, including buying necessary offerings such as sugar cane. To save the hassle, many devotees, including the young, visit the temple to pray instead."
Mr Tan estimated that by the end of the celebration today, about 3 million sheets of joss paper would have been bought and used by the devotees.
At 3pm today, the joss paper will be burned to send the Jade Emperor back to the heavens after the celebration, said Mr Tan.
As part of a ritual to celebrate the birthday, devotees also walk across a specially constructed 35m bridge.