Prelude Day Parade, Chingay JB, 16th Feb 2017

IMG 1717

Chingay JB is the major Chinese festival in Johor Bahru. Last year I reported on the Night Parade, and today I had the opportunity to see the Prelude Day Parade. As you will see from the photos, aside form the participants and some devotees, there are not too many spectators here, so you can get a close up view of everything. Don’t stand near the temple entrance though as you will be constantly moved out of the way of the deities. I suggest you wait near to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel as people were sitting on the wall there and there was some shelter from the sun.

The Prelude Day Parade of Chingay JB is held on the 20th day of the Lunar New Year, so eventually it will be held on a non-working day and you can see it for yourselves! This is the occassion on which the five deities are taken from the Johor Bahru Old Temple for a day out! For some reason, Johor Tourism does not publicise this occasion well and most website information is in Chinese, so my thanks to yesnomads.com who prepared an excellent report of Chingay JB 2016 (http://bit.ly/2kbljwG). I have used their information to provide some extra details here. The parade started around 10:30 am when the dragons left the temple complex. At 11 am, the deities appeared amid much drumming, firing of confetti, and noise from the devotees. In the photo above, you can just about see a deitys shrine in the middle, with photographers on the left and worshippers on the right. It became much easier to ‘see’ what was going on when the parade thinned out and I walked along beside it.

IMG 1784

I think that this is Yuan Tian Shang Di (God of the Northern Heaven); he is the principle deity at the JB Old Temple and everyone stopped to pray in front of him. Unlike the other deities, his sedan chair does not get rocked from side to side. 

The parade is a very noisy affair, as each of the five Chinese clans, dressed in different t-shirt colours, have their own set of drummers. The group shown in the video below were perhaps the best sounding group this morning.


The five deities have their annual tour so that the gods can have a good time and bless the city with peace, prosperity, and harmony. Below are some of the marshalls for this event outside the entrance to JB Old Temple in Jalan Trus.

IMG 1696


IMG 1705


IMG 1706

I hope that the remaining photos are self-explanatory; assorted photos along the parade route. I stopped at the road junction with Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, as there was another two hours still to go from here to the destination of Xin Gong! Many people stopped me to ask where I was from as there were not many Westerners there. Everyone was extremely friendly (as I have always found in JB) and one even insisted I have my photo taken with him.

IMG 1978


IMG 1690
IMG 1698IMG 1697IMG 1704IMG 1703IMG 1778














IMG 1806






















IMG 1795









IMG 1789IMG 1788IMG 2031















Despite all the colour and noise, this parade was clearly a spiritual occasion for many. Local workers looked on in interest as you simply had to see what was going on.














Below you can see the deity on it sedan chair, with the ropes needed to rock him awake! The guys have to be very fit to carry this safely.

IMG 1815


IMG 1821
IMG 1828IMG 1822




















The dragons were a spectacle in themselves. The guys ran around in circles and then jumped over the body of the dragon so that it could twist and turn. They have two more days of this extreme exercise regime!

IMG 1833


IMG 1963


IMG 1906


IMG 1989


IMG 1999


IMG 2014IMG 2007










Tomorrow (17th Feb) is the Night Parade which occurs while the deities are resting at Xing Gong. It starts from there at 7 pm and should arrive at Jalan Wong Ah Fook at 9 - 10 pm. Last year I watched the parade from Jalan Lingkaran Dalam where it goes over Jalan Yahya Awal, at about 7:30 pm. Note that many of the roads are closed for this parade (http://www.nst.com.my/news/2017/02/212750/several-roads-johor-baru-be-closed-friday-chingay). On Saturday 18th Feb, the deities make their return journey from Xing Gong to JB Old Temple, where they should arrive at noon. I do not know the scale of the Final Day Parade, but why not go take a look anyway?


Click here to return to Travels in Malaysia 2017

Click here to return to Helen Gray’s homepage.


© Helen Gray 2019