Festivals of Malaysia - Chor Soo Kong’s Birthday

2019-05-30

Articles in Penang / Penang

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A traditional ceremony, ‘fire watching’ ceremony is held on the 5th night of the Chinese lunar calendar to predict the economic outlook of Penang in the coming year. The ceremony and special prayer are held to commemorate the birthday of Chor Soo Kong.

Cheng Chooi Chor Soo Kong or Chor Soo Kong in short, is a Taoist deity. The deity’s birthday falls on the 6th day of the first month in the Chinese lunar calendar. During this festive celebration, a traditional ceremony, ‘fire watching’ ceremony is held on the 5th night of the Chinese lunar calendar to predict the economic outlook of Penang in the coming year. The ceremony and special prayer are held to commemorate the birthday of Chor Soo Kong, which attracts visitors from as far as Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

Chor Soo Kong was a Buddhist monk, born to a Tan family in China during the Song Dynasty. He was ordained at an early age and was a healer, who had vast knowledge about medicinal herbs.  When he passed away at the age of 65, he was awarded the honorific title ‘Chor Soo’, which mean ‘eminent historic figure’. The temple at Bayan Lepas, Penang was built in 1850 to commemorate Chor Soo Kong. The temple was originally called the ‘Temple of the Azure Cloud’.

Other temples that are dedicated to Chor Soo Kong are the Qingshui Temple and Zushi Temple in Taipei, Taiwan; and the Fushan Temple in Yangon and Saw Si Gone Temple in Mawlamyine Myanmar.

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