Malay stall a hit at Nine Em­peror fes­ti­val

Devo­tees ex­cited to see new ven­dors out­side tem­ple

The Star Malaysia - - Nation - By M. SIVANANTHA SHARMA news­desk@thes­tar.com.my

BUTTERWORTH: Devo­tees pa­tro­n­is­ing the food stalls out­side the Guan Yin Ting Dou Mu Gong tem­ple in Medan Melur Se­la­tan off Jalan Raja Uda here were ex­cited to see a Malay cou­ple sell­ing veg­e­tar­ian food in con­junc­tion with the Nine Em­peror Gods fes­ti­val.

Siti No­raqila Zulk­i­fli, 28, and her hus­band Mo­hamad Noor Ah­mad, 36, from Karangan, Kedah, have been sell­ing veg­e­tar­ian food since the first day of the fes­ti­val on Tues­day.

Siti No­raqila said she was in­flu­enced by her friend, Agnes Lee, 33, whose hus­band was the chief ten­ant of all the stalls sell­ing veg­e­tar­ian food in that area.

“We closed our sa­tay stall in Karangan for 10 days to come here to sell veg­e­tar­ian food.

“I like veg­e­tar­ian food as it’s health­ier,” she said.

“My hus­band has also been very sup­port­ive af­ter I told him about my idea to come here dur­ing this pe­riod.”

Among the food that the cou­ple sell are veg­e­tar­ian sa­tay, ikan bakar and nasi goreng.

Siti No­raqila said busi­ness was quite good as she could sell around 1,500 sticks of sa­tay per day.

“If the busi­ness con­tin­ues to be good, we may come back again next year,” she said.

Self-em­ployed Loo Chee Sin, 53, from Jalan Raja Uda, bought some of the sa­tay af­ter learn­ing about it from so­cial me­dia.

“I was cu­ri­ous as I have never tried veg­e­tar­ian sa­tay, so I gave it a try to­day,” he said.

Jessie Lee, 40, also brought her son, Lo Jia Hong, 11, to sam­ple the veg­e­tar­ian sa­tay for the first time.

“It is so de­li­cious. I feel like eat­ing and eat­ing,” said Lo.

The Nine Em­peror Gods Fes­ti­val, also known as Kew Ong Yeah Fes­ti­val, started on Oct 9, the first day of the ninth lu­nar month.

On the first nine days of the month, devo­tees ob­serve a strict veg­e­tar­ian diet and re­frain from vice un­til the fes­ti­val is over.

The fes­ti­val, ob­served by Taoists, is ded­i­cated to the nine sons of Tou Mu, the God­dess of the North Star, who is be­lieved to con­trol the Books of Life and Death.

Her sons, de­i­fied as ren huang (hu­man sov­er­eigns), are said to have the abil­ity to cure ill­nesses and bless devo­tees with luck, wealth and longevity.

Devo­tees be­lieve the gods came through the wa­ter­way and pro­ces­sions are usu­ally held from tem­ples to the river or seashore as a sym­bolic ges­ture.

Meat­less nov­el­ties: Siti No­raqila (blue head­scarf) with Mo­hamad Noor pre­par­ing their veg­e­tar­ian sa­tay and ikan bakar at their stall at Guan Yin Ting Dou Mu Gong Tem­ple in Butterworth, Pe­nang.

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