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Singapore: Taoist Festival

The following photos were taken on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year. It is an important day for Taoists in Singapore as this day is for receiving the Emperor of Heaven for the New Year. The festival for this Taoist shrine is officiated by Taoist mediums or 'Tangki' in the Hokkien dialect. 'Tangki' conducts seance that allows Taoist deities to enter their body so as to divine the future, bless devotees and also conduct exorcism. In this particular occasion, 3 'Tangki' who served as bodily embodiment of the Monkey Deity, Celestial General and Celestial Boy officiated the ceremony. The most unforgettable scene was the unsuccessful seance attempted by a novice 'Tangki' that lasted for almost an hour, which left the young 'Tangki' collapsed in exhaustion. The 'Tangki' for the Monkey Deity even lacerated his tongue to bless talisman with his own blood! He was obviously oblivious to pain and the deep wound miraculously closed after the ceremony! The shooting of this festival left me completed exhausted at the end and I personally have yet to expose so many rolls of film in such a short period of time. The constant rythmic banging of gongs and drums had an almost hypnotic effect on the spectators and it made everyone there totally immersed in the spectacle that unfolded before them. Even for a local, this is the first time I witness their religious devotion at such close proximity.
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Shrine to Monkey Deity
Shrine to Monkey Deity
Altar
Altar
Altar to Celestial Mounts
Altar to Celestial Mounts
Making Preparations I
Making Preparations I
Making Preparations II
Making Preparations II
Making Preparations III
Making Preparations III
Making Preparations IV
Making Preparations IV
Little Girl
Little Girl
Siblings
Siblings
Matriarch
Matriarch
Chief Medium
Chief Medium
Commencing the Ceremony
Commencing the Ceremony
Blessing Ritual I
Blessing Ritual I
Blessing Ritual II
Blessing Ritual II
Blessing Ritual III
Blessing Ritual III
Blessing Ritual IV
Blessing Ritual IV
Tangki Making Offering I
Tangki Making Offering I
Tangki Making Offering II
Tangki Making Offering II
Chanting Taoist Hymns
Chanting Taoist Hymns
Blessing Regalia
Blessing Regalia
Beginning of Seance
Beginning of Seance
Sitting on Seance Chair I
Sitting on Seance Chair I
Sitting on Seance Chair II
Sitting on Seance Chair II
Seance I
Seance I
Seance II
Seance II
Possessed by Monkey Deity I
Possessed by Monkey Deity I
Possessed by Monkey Deity II
Possessed by Monkey Deity II
Possessed by Monkey Deity III
Possessed by Monkey Deity III
Wearing Crown of Monkey Deity
Wearing Crown of Monkey Deity
Possessed by Celestial General
Possessed by Celestial General
Wearing Regalia of Celestial General
Wearing Regalia of Celestial General
Giving Orders
Giving Orders
Divining I
Divining I
Divining II
Divining II
Preparing for Seance
Preparing for Seance
Seance III
Seance III
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