[VIDEO] Deity Seng Ong Kong’s birthday procession this year largest yet, features 188-ft-long ‘Fire Dragon’, over 200 troupes

Deity Seng Ong Kong’s birthday procession features a 188-foot-long ‘Fire Dragon’—the longest participating in the procession so far.

By Ashley Sim and Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, March 31: Featuring a 188-foot-long ‘Fire Dragon’—the longest yet in the procession—and a record more than 200 troupes—this year’s birthday procession of deity Seng Ong Kong was truly remarkable, particularly with the Year of the Dragon adding significance.

For the record, deity Seng Ong Kong’s birthday is celebrated annually on the 22nd day of the second lunar month, and devotees affectionately refer to the deity as ‘Xiong Kong’.

A large crowd of worshippers had gathered at the Hong San Si Temple on Jalan Wayang here earlier in the afternoon to pay homage to the deity Seng Ong Kong before the procession began.

The procession route was bustling with worshippers, curious bystanders, and tourists by around 3pm, all eagerly waiting in anticipation for the vibrant procession to kick off from the Hong San Si Temple.

Around 4pm, the procession commenced from Jalan Wayang and made its way through various streets including Jalan Tabuan, Jalan Ban Hock, Jalan Padungan, Jalan Bukit Mata, Jalan Bazaar, Jalan Gambier, Jalan Khoo Hun Yeang, Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, Jalan Carpenter, and Jalan Ewe Hai, before returning to Jalan Wayang.

Leading the procession was the 188-foot-long ‘Fire Dragon’ made of bound grass into which worshippers stuck joss sticks for good fortune, and which was proudly paraded before being ceremoniously lighted at the end of the procession.

The grand annual procession showcased a magnificent display of lion and dragon dances by various troupes, beautifully adorned floats, and cultural performances from various Chinese associations, schools, and other ethnic groups.

It also featured statues of other deities from outside Kuching that worshippers had brought in.

The 188-foot-long ‘Fire Dragon’ glides through the streets, carrying the wishes of the faithful on its fiery path.
The variety of mascots inject a burst of fun and excitement into the temple procession, captivating onlookers with their charm.
Vibrant performances add zest to the temple procession, captivating all who gather.
The annual temple procession dazzles with captivating lion dances from diverse troupes.
Dragon troupes in all their majestic glory grace the grand annual temple procession.

Officiating at the procession was Deputy Premier of Sarawak Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian.

Dr Sim praised the temple committee for making the deity Seng Ong Kong birthday procession a success and putting Sarawak on the map as more foreign visitors came to watch the temple procession.

He said that the temple procession is one way to make Sarawakians proud, and that everyone is doing their part and playing their roles.

Dr Sim also described the procession as a unique form of nation-building through culture and beliefs, and he was pleased that people of different races participated.

“This year’s procession was not only the biggest deity procession the city ever held but involved more than 200 teams.

“It is very unique for Sarawak as we not only made and respected it as a temple procession but also as a street parade,” he told reporters when met in the courtyard of Hong San Si Temple today.

Dr Sim (front row, third left), Wee (front row, fourth left), Tan Kai (front row, third right), and others during the temple procession.

In addition, the Deputy Premier highlighted that not only foreign visitors, but also visitors from West Malaysia and Sabah, attended the temple procession.

“It seems that everyone is respecting what Sarawak is doing, and with every Sarawakians doing their part, we don’t just let the government make decisions for us.”

Dr Sim, who is also Minister for Public Health, Housing, and Local Government (MPHLG) Sarawak, said he was impressed to see so many young people involved.

“The survival of culture and traditions depends on young people to carry it on but of course, the senior ones are the backbones of these street parades,” he opined.

The deity Seng Ong Kong is carried and paraded by worshippers during the temple procession.

The minister further emphasised the importance of unity and diversity showcased at the temple procession, highlighting the values of racial harmony and respect.

“This is beyond religious tolerance. We try our best not to make unnecessary issues and we try our best to respect each other and live in harmony,” he added.

Among those present at the event were Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng, Federation of Sarawak Temple Associations (FSTA) chairman Dato Richard Wee, Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) chairman Tan Kai, and Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) director Datuk Jack Aman Luat. — DayakDaily