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SIBU, Feb 11: During every Chinese New Year celebration, Sibu Tua Pek Kong temple will be a beehive of activity. But not this year as Sibu is still under Covid-19 Movement Control Order (MCO).
The burning of giant joss-stick that emit sandalwood scent and blanket of smoke on new year eve is a compulsory event that attracts large crowd of close to 10,000 devotees to usher in the new year.
Lion dance performance is an integral part of the Chinese culture especially on new year eve and on the first day of the lunar new year.
Other equally important events during the new year include the celebration of the birthday of Jade Emperor deity on the ninth day and the Chap Goh Meh celebration or Chinese Valentine Day to wind up the celebration.
Alas, all these will not happen this new year.
But the temple committee ensured the tradition of celebration must be observed and hence the committee hung up hundreds of brightly lit lanterns which are symbols of joy and good fortune around this house of worship to welcome the Year of the metal Ox.
A vice chairman of the temple, Tan Boo Chiang said they had to close the temple to devotees as they needed to complied with the standard operating procedure.
“We have changed our new year eve prayer to 11am tomorrow. However only 12 people who are the committee members are allowed to participate in compliance with the SOP, ” he said.
Tan said they also had to make do without the presentation of 10,000 Ang Pau to devotees on the first day of the new year as a congregation of more than 15 people is not allowed.
“This is the first time that the temple will be devoid of devotees on Lunar New Year. We can’t do much as we need to strictly follow the SOP. There will be no lion dance performance also,” he said. — DayakDaily