Teng Yun Temple readies for Chinese New Year

National 1 minute, 51 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Chinese community will celebrate the beginning of the Lunar New Year today, with the capital’s Teng Yun Temple as the focal point for celebrations to welcome the Year of the Monkey.

Worshippers began paying their respect to their ancestors yesterday, on the eve of the new year, by burning joss paper and incense on the temple’s candle-lit altars, praying for good health, prosperity and peace.

The most important event in the Chinese calendar, people traditionally seek blessings on the eve and the morning of the new year before they begin celebrations with their families. Families also host ‘reunion dinners’ on the eve of the Lunar New Year.

Teng Yun Temple will be open to the public from 7.15am today, where an elaborate lion dance will be staged, performed by troupes from Chung Hwa Middle School.

The event attracts hundreds of people every year, including photography enthusiasts, tourists and prominent members of the Chinese community.

Most Chinese businesses will close for several days so staff can participate in the festivities, which includes visiting friends’ and relatives’ houses, giving ‘ang pow’ and lighting paper lanterns.

Yesterday, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, also wished several Chinese citizens a ‘Happy New Year’ when the monarch made an impromptu visit to Tamu Kianggeh, located opposite the Teng Yun Temple.

One of the weekend vendors at the market, Lau Kiat Hing, said he had been doing brisk business selling pumpkin and yam cakes, which are traditionally given as offerings when they pray.

Several other shops also reported a spike in sale of flowers and decorations.

While festivities for the Chinese Lunar New Year traditionally last for 15 days, the community is only allowed to stage lion dances for three days – from February 8 until 10 – in places such as Chinese temples and selected residences, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA).

Previous news reports said the ministry reminded Chinese associations that dragon and lion dance troupes should refrain from performing in hotels, restaurants, public areas, commercial areas and on the streets.

The Royal Brunei Police Force also called on the public to take precautionary measures when using of fireworks during celebrations.

The Brunei Times