9th Emperor God Festival
Nine Emperor Gods Festival is a very popular nine-day festival, held in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. It begins on the eve of the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar.
According to the traditional Chinese religion, the Nine Emperor Gods are the nine sons manifested by Father Emperor Zhou Yu Dou Fu Yuan Jun and Mother of the Big Dipper Dou Mu Yuan Jun. The Nine Emperor Gods are formed by the seven stars of the Big Dipper of the North Ursa Major. Over the time the worship to the gods declined, but the festival was brought from the mainland China to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, where it survived and got certain unique traits.
The temples of the deities hold a traditional ceremony to welcome the emperors. It's believed, that they arrive through the waterways, that's why festive processions are held from the temples to sea shore or river. The sending-off ritual starts on the last day of the festival.
Nine Emperor Gods Festival is also known as the Vegetarian Festival in Thailand and Singapore. The name derives from the vegetarian ritual, held on the eve of the festival. The followers abstain from eating meat during the festival to purify their bodies from sins.