Every year, the Yin Zhen Dian Temple Association (狮城阴阵殿公庙) at Lorong 34 Geylang organises its 7th Lunar Month festival on the final week of the month. Due to a lack of space in Geylang, the temple trucks its offerings to an open field off Defu Lane 10 for burning.
I turned up there on Thursday evening (25 August, the 28th day of the 7th Lunar Month) to catch the ritual. The stacking of offerings alone took more than an hour. It was a sight to behold. More than a dozen people laboured under a steady drizzle as dusk gave way to night.
A temple staff, Mr Lim, shared that the ceremony is dedicated to Zhou Bao Bei Ye (周包贝爷), a deity of the temple. From the little that I know, Zhou Bao Bei Ye is a guardian of fortune of the netherworld.
Does the burning take place on the same date every year, I asked. No, said Mr Lim. “Zhou Bao Bei Ye picks the date. When it’s time for him to come, the rain will stop.” Indeed, the rain, which had gone on for much of the afternoon, had abruptly stopped.
Eventually, a loud convoy of neon-lit floats arrived, with Zhou Bao Bei Ye on a sedan chair carried by devotees. After a short, lively ceremony led by temple founder Master Choo, the mountain of offerings was put to the flames.