top of page


Blog Picture.jpg

Sending off the Nine Emperor Gods

Tuesday, 4 October, was the 9th day of the 9th Lunar Month - the last day of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, a day for devotees to give the Nine Emperor Gods a grand send-off.

In modern Singapore, ancient practices like the Nine Emperor Gods Festival must adapt to urban development and redevelopment.

On the same night, I had the fortune of witnessing two send-off ceremonies near each other. Both took place on reclaimed land - Punggol Marina for the Leng San Giam Dou Mu Gong, and Pulau Punggol Timor for the Hougang Dou Mu Gong.

Around 6.30pm, devotees from the Leng San Giam Dou Mu Gong brought in their dragon boat by forklift, to the same pier as their receiving ritual nine days earlier.

Prayers were then conducted on-site.

Close to 9pm, the main body from the temple arrived. Devotees carried and rocked nine sedan chairs bearing nine urns for the Nine Emperor Gods. Selected acolytes, kneeling the whole way, reverently carried the nine urns down the pier to be loaded onto the dragon boat.

As devotees thronged the pier, kneeling and kowtowing, a tugboat gently towed the dragon boat out to sea, where it was put to flames.

Meanwhile, less than a kilometre away, Hougang Dou Mu Gong’s send-off ritual was nearing its conclusion too.

It was a 15-minute walk from Punggol Marina to Pulau Punggol Timor via Seletar North Link, and to the ceremony site next to PPT Lodge 1A, a foreign worker dormitory.

The event attendance was significantly larger, with a bigger budget - fireworks, a concert stage, and large TV screens beaming a live feed of the ritual by the sea. However, most attendees were kept a distance away from the actual ceremony and dragon boat.

Around 10.30pm, the dragon boat was brought out to sea; again, flames lit up the night sky as the boat was torched.

As devotees filed out of the site, a brisk landward wind blew ashes from the burning boat over the crowd, prompting cheers.


Join my blog's Telegram channel at for mobile updates.

bottom of page