More than 4,000 devotees turned up at the Loyang Tua Pek Kong temple last Friday to usher in the Chinese New Year at the stroke of midnight, but it was a set of feathered friends who stole the attention.
In line with the Year of the Rooster, the temple's staff set up an enclosure that had four pairs of roosters and hens, much to the delight of the crowd.
As her three-year-old son excitedly pointed to the animals, 31-year-old saleswoman Pamela Tan told The New Paper: "It's such a nice surprise to see these chickens here, I did not expect this.
"My son and all the other children are really enjoying it."
But the chickens, which temple staff said were from Chew's Agriculture, appealed not just to the children but adults too.
Miss Gabriella Chua, a 29-year-old office executive, was taking selfies with the birds when TNP approached her.
"They are cute, it's a great way to usher in the new year," she said.
The Loyang Tua Pek Kong temple has regularly hosted special "guests" for its annual Chinese New Year programme.
To add to the festive mood, the temple had also brought in horses and goats in previous years, depending on the Chinese zodiac for the year.
During the Monkey Year celebrations last year, the temple hired a mascot to act as monkey god Sun Wukong, who struck poses as devotees queued up to snap photos with him.
Ms Tan Yan Yan, one of the temple's staff members, said they decided to bring in chickens as many younger attendees might not have seen them before.
She said: "Here in Singapore, it's hard to see chickens live up-close because we don't even have that many farms. Based on the response the animals are getting, I think it was a good decision."
Event coordinator Jeffrey Tan, 58, said he was pleased to see so many people enjoying themselves as they ushered in the new year.
With a wide smile, Mr Tan said: "Chinese New Year happens only once a year, but we still get so many people coming to celebrate.
"Everyone is enjoying themselves and it's nice to see."
This article was first published on Jan 31, 2017.
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