Datok Kong Teng Sin Hooi Temple
Unique celebration in memory of a religious mystic
Not particularly known to the outside world, this enigmatic temple is ensconced off Jalan Ong Yi How, along a hidden and little known road of Jalan Sena 1. It features nine main deities, with the principal one being Datuk Tua, a saintly sage who is believed to have resided in the area in the distant past. It is also known as the 315 Temple as there is a major celebration here on the fifteenth day of the third month of the lunar calendar – in conjunction with the birthday of Datuk Tua.
The temple is very famous in Butterworth due to the ritual of collecting and offering thousands of eggs to the deity during the celebration. This is a very local tradition, specific to this temple. Volunteers from the neighbouring state of Kedah join in to help in the preparations and to provide service. Chinese opera is also performed here during the celebration.
During the last time the celebration was held on June 26, 2015, a total of 90,000 eggs were presented to the deity. The event was registered by the Malaysia Book of Records.
All the eggs were given away to worshippers and the public, especially the needy and poor, after the prayers were completed. This tradition began many decades ago when local farmers who lost their reared pigs found the animals returning after they offered prayers to Datuk Tua. The farmers then offered eggs to the deity in appreciation, beginning a custom that has grown in scale since then.
The temple is also called Tokong Siam, because its origin was influenced by local Siamese community a hundred years ago. There are several Siamese traits and styles infused into the rituals of worship here.
The current temple building was developed 35 years ago, from the original small shrine. An annual procession is also held on the 29th day of 3rd month of lunar calendar.
There are two other temples just next door, one being in honour of the deity Da Bo Gong Hock Teik Miao and the other for the Tua Peh Kong.
Written by Himanshu Bhatt
Photographs by Adrian Cheah & temple committee