Thousands throng Nine Emperor Gods procession

IPOH, Malaysia - The streets of Ipoh were filled with thousands hoping to catch a glimpse of the Nine Emperor Gods (Kew Ong Yeah) Festival procession.

Many came as early as 6am to watch the procession that took place yesterday to mark the birthday of the gods and the end of the nine-day festival.

A total of 108 associations, schools, temples and religious groups took part in the procession, which began its 5km route from the Tow Bow Keong Temple on Jalan Tokong here, weaving through Ipoh Old Town and ending at the temple.

Many devotees walked on foot while dressed in elaborate costumes of deities and other traditional garb while school bands and musical floats filled the air with a cacophony of sounds.

The spectators were further awed when the participating associations performed a variety of lion, dragon and other dances at a stretch of road next to the Yik Foong Shopping Complex as part of the procession.

Despite a drizzle midway through the event, spectators were ready with umbrellas and shades of all kinds that allowed them to continue viewing the colourful displays.

The festival is typically celebrated during the first nine days of the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar.

On the eve of the festival, temples would hold ceremonies to welcome the Nine Emperor Gods by holding processions to waterways.

The gods are then worshipped at the temples throughout the nine-day festival, which includes various rituals and celebrations, before they are sent back in a grand procession.