If not for the taxi driver who informed me that he cannot go into one of the major streets because it was closed for a major festival, I wouldn’t have caught the end of the 9 Emperor Gods Festival in Alor Setar as the deities were being processioned and led to the river as they go back to the heavens via the river. Think about it. Travel as discovery and it was those moments wherein I can readily say I was at the right time at the right place.
According to beliefs, the nine emperor gods will go down via the waterways on the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar and for the next nine days, devotees will be celebrating and praying before they are then led back to the river. Devotees will shun meat and invoke the gods to possess their bodies that’s why during the last day procession, these men and some women are in trance, with some even piercing their cheeks, and the faithful believe that to be touched or given a token like candies, flower, fruit or water is a blessing.
I was supposed to check out the night market beside Darul Aman Stadium but when he mentioned a religious procession, my ears stood up and asked him to drive me to the nearest point to the event. It was unexpected and I had a great fun! Fun in a way that I discovered something new, a peek at how Taoist Chinese, a minority in Kedah, practice their beliefs and faith as well as being able to shoot this festival.
Check this short photo essay.