Tuesday February 7, 2012
Wangkang sweeps away evil and people off their feet
By ALLISON LAI
MALACCA: Thousands gathered here to watch the Wangkang or Royal Barge procession that made its way through the streets in the city's older quarter, symbolically sweeping away all evil forces that threaten to disrupt peace and prosperity.
More than 10,000 devotees and tourists witnessed the procession which began at 7.30am from the Yong Chuan Tian Temple in Banda Hilir in conjunction with Chap Goh Mei yesterday.
The procession, after a lapse of 11 years, saw mediums in a trance parading along decorated carriages while the deity Tee Hoo Ong Yah, the third among five “sworn brothers”, and other deities were carried in their respective sedan chairs.
Lighting up the night: The Wangkang being burnt, accompanied by fireworks, at the Pulau Melaka seafront Monday.
The RM80,000 wooden barge, measuring 5.8m in length, 2.4m in width and 6.1m in height passed through several streets before returning to the temple at about 4pm.
Scores of people also gathered along the roads to catch a glimpse of the barge, with some touching it to ward off bad luck.
The day-long procession caused traffic congestion in Banda Hilir as many holidaymakers also flocked to the tourist area.
In the evening, the barge was dragged from the temple towards the Pulau Melaka seafront and burnt after a prayer ceremony, signifying the sending away of evil spirits.
Yuliya Huang, 32, flew from Indonesia to witness the once-in-a-lifetime event.
“I heard of Wangkang from my Malaysian father, but I have not seen one. So I came here with my parents two days ago,” she said.
For Briton Matt Lewis Haskins, 43, from London, it was the first time he had come across a major event like this.
“The event was colourful and great. I am lucky to have witnessed it,” he said.