SINGAPORE - Hundreds of devotees congregated at Sembawang Beach on Wednesday (Oct 21) evening to mark the end of the annual Jiu Huang Ye, or Nine Emperor Gods, festival.
They were joined by Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam and his fellow Nee Soon GRC MPs Louis Ng and Henry Kwek at the colourful conclusion to the 11-day long celebration.
Mr Shanmugam also took part in prayers and accompanied temple elders into the waters off Sembawang Beach in a symbolic ritual meant to "send off" the Nine Emperor Gods.
Mr Shanmugan "sending off" the Nine Emperor Gods with temple elders in the waters off Sembawang Beach. PHOTO: NEE SOON GRASSROOT ORGANISATIONS
He revealed that he had been attending the celebrations every year - schedule permitting - since he became MP for the area, as they take on a "multi-racial and multi-religious approach" which is commendable.
"The organisers have made generous efforts to extend the celebrations to others in the community. They host charity dinners, entertain residents with free concerts, provide red packets and distribute goodie bags to the elderly," said Mr Shanmugam.
"They also involve other religious institutions like the Indian temples who warmly welcome them."
The Jiu Huang Ye festival, a Taoist celebration, dates back 2,000 years. This year's event began on Oct 11, with devotees gathering at Sembawang Beach to welcome the Jiu Huang Ye and invite them back to the Chong Pang Combined Temple along Yishun Ring Road.
It is celebrated more than most in Nee Soon as part of the area's local cultural heritage. Various community events, including getai performances, temple rituals, Chinese opera and lion and dragon dances form part of the vibrant festival.
Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Darryl David, who was at a separate ceremony on Pulau Punggol Timor, also posted a photo collage of the event on his Facebook page.