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Mazu Festival (Photo courtesy of Mazu Festival Facebook)
Mazu, the Goddess of Sea, is one of the most revered deities in Chinese culture. The goddess is also known as Tian Hou.
The Chinese diaspora in the 19th and 20th century helped to spread such worship from Fujian Province (Mainland China) to South East Asia and other parts of the world. They brought along their traditions, including religions and customs to their new homes in foreign lands.
In Singapore, there are several temples dedicated to Mazu. The oldest built by the Hokkien ethnic group and the Straits Chinese is Thian Hock Keng Temple in Telok Ayer.
Early Chinese immigrants came to give thanks for their safe arrival after surviving the rough South China Sea, where they traveled in a cramped boat with hundreds of people with lack of food and drink, sanitation, and plagued with diseases.
The 23rd day of the 3rd Lunar Month is considered as the birthday of Mazu. It is celebrated as Mazu Festival. This year the temple celebrates it by throwing a week long festival from 26 April to 1 May 2016.
The programme for this year: 26 April 7.30pm - A Lion Salute 27 April 7.30pm - Movie Under the Stars - Din Tao: Leader of the Parade 28 April 8.00pm - A Night of Golden Oldies
29 April 10.30am & 12.30pm Traditional Hokkien String Puppet Shows
29 April 7.45pm - Getai, a performance by singers on the stage
Legends in Urban Singapore: Stories of our Deities
Cultural Exhibition "Legends in Urban Singapore: Stories of our Deities" is a display on the wall of the temple. Visitors can view it anytime from 8am to 5pm. There will be a bazaar held outside the temple where visitors can buy food and drink, and Chinese culture items.
From 26 to 29 April, 9am to 10pm, there will be guided tours with a topic on "Traditions of Mazu's Birthday Celebrations. From 30 April to 1 May, the guided tours will elaborate on the topic of "Thian Hock Keng - An Architectural Masterpiece". These free guided tours are conducted in English and Mandarin. Pre-registration is required, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 62228212.
Admission to the temple is free for everyone including children. Donations are welcome. If you wish to pray, there are candles which can be purchased from the staff.
If you plan to visit this temple, please note photography is not allowed in the main hall. Kindly pay respect to those worshipers.