I caught the end of the 9 Emperor Gods Festival

Categories abroad, Places
9 Emperor Gods
A devotee who has abstained from meat during the 9 day festival. On the last day, some of these devotees do self mutilation, for this man, he pierced his cheeks. They move in a peculiar manner, sort of in a trance and followers will come near them to ask for blessings.
Drummer boy on a large drum beating to excite the crowd

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.

A Lion dance performed at the start of the processional.
The onlookers
A sculpture of one of the gods oing to their platform at a coffeeshop
Youth balancing a very long bamboo pole where their group’s flag is attached. There were several of these along the processional route
One of the devotees who the faithful believes that one of the emperor god’s spirit has entered into
One of the processional carts during a stopover.
Gong wielding men that they sound off from time to time.
The last processional cart with followers all dressed in white. Paper dolls and lanters decorated the float
Paper effigies on paper horse, part of the procession.
A follower supplicating to a devotee where an emperor god has entered into his body

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I help businesses get qualified leads and more sales thru better FB Ads. I'm also a Travel and Architecture/Interiors photographer, blogger and writer based in Cebu, the Philippines.

A true blue Cebuano, I make stunning images and meaningful stories. My work has been published in various coffee table books as well as local and international publications Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and has frequently done photo assignments for Mabuhay, an inflight magazine.

My personal Photography work has been exhibited around Asia and Europe including Paris in France, Germany, The Netherlands, South Korea, China and around the ASEAN regional capitals.

I am a peripatetic traveler and have been to all 81 Philippine provinces and abroad.

Check out my portfolio site at StanCabigas.

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