9 Emperor Gods Festival in Kelantan, Malaysia

We were already in our room when suddenly I heard some beating of drums. I quickly peeped through our windows to see what’s happening outside. And to my surprise I saw a flock of people all dressed in white. Some of them were doing a lion dance, while others were swinging a carriage.

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But the most intriguing among those participants were those at the end of the line, they seemed like doing a sacrifice. We hurriedly ran out of the hotel to see it closely. I was terrified when I saw a metal rod pierced from one of their cheek which passes through the other. I still have no idea how was it called. So I asked someone from them but she can barely speak English but she was trying her best to explain.

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We went back to our room researching what celebration or what is that parade for? I heard again drum beats led by a dragon dance and doing exactly the same of the first group that we saw. But this time it had more participants and more colorful. They have a grand float (which resembles a boat) lit with colorful fixtures and smoking incense sticks.

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We later found out that the celebration is called 9 Emperor Gods Festival. And it was the 9th and the last day of it, that’s why there is a parade which will go all the way to the riverbanks. It is a Chinese festival to celebrate the return of the 9 emperors from heaven to earth. At first we thought that it was one of the Buddhist Festivals but we were wrong. It was Taoist’s celebration which begins on the eve of the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar.

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This festival is celebrated particularly in Southeast Asian countries like Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and also the Riau Islands. This is how they celebrated it here in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia.