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Chinese New Year (CNY) comes early in 2023.
Festivities appear to have returned, with CNY decorations for the Year of the Rabbit already in place in Chinatown.
However, some activities remain cancelled as a matter of precaution, despite Covid-19 restrictions having been lifted since last year.
Cancellation of incense offering event at Waterloo Street temple
For the third consecutive year, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, located along Waterloo Street, will be cancelling its annual incense offering event, held on the eve of CNY.
According to 8world, a spokesperson for the Buddhist temple shared that the Kuan Yin hall will only be open from 7am to 6:30pm on CNY eve (Jan. 21), and will be closed thereafter.
The annual incense offering event, which is traditionally held at the stroke of midnight, will not take place as a result.
The event sees mass participation by members of the public who jostle to offer joss sticks.
However, the temple will continue to remain open on the first and second days of the Lunar New Year on Jan. 22 and 23, from 7am to 6:30pm.
In 2022, the Waterloo Street temple had only resumed operations on the third day of CNY.
According to 8world, other activities will also be temporarily paused at the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple during the CNY period, from Jan. 20 to 24.
This includes the drawing of joss sticks for fortune telling, as well as requesting for protective talismans.
Devotees will still be able to pray for blessings at the temple though.
Incense offering event was believed to bring good luck
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, tens of thousands of devotees would normally gather at the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple to take part in the incense offering event.
Traditionally, many devotees would usher in the Lunar New Year by rushing to place joss sticks in the urn.
It is believed that the first person to plant their sticks into the urn will have an auspicious new year.
However, in 2021, the event was cancelled to prevent crowding, given the pandemic.
Similarly, it was called off in 2022.
Top image by Heng Heng via FOTO CLS Facebook
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