On the left of the entrance hall are Deity of Marriage & Love (Yue Lao 月老), Jia Ou Tian Cheng (佳偶天成) and He He Er Xian (和合二仙). On the right of the entrance hall are Warrior Deity of Prosperity (Wu Cai Sheng 武财神), Scholar Deity of Prosperity (Wen Cai Shen 文财神), Prosperity Deities of the 5 Directions (Wu Lu Cai Shen 五路财神), and Vehicle Deity (Xi Zhong Deity, Che Shen 车神). The fortune predictions of the 12 Lunar Zodiac animals for the year are traditionally installed in the entrance hall. On the ride inside of the entrance hall are Tiger Lord (Hu Ye Jiang Jun 虎爷将军) and Earth Deity (Di Zhu Gong 地主公).
Deity of Marriage & Love – Yue Lao
Yue Lao, also known as “the elderly man under the moon”, is renowned as a match-maker or one who arranges marriages. Traditionally, a red string is tied on both the hands of a man and a woman to bless them with a blissful marriage. Historical records on Yue Lao can be traced to the early Tang Dynasty. The Yue Lao statue is enshrined in Sheng Hong Temple to bless couples with lasting love or those who are seeking partners.
Jia Ou Tian Cheng is a pair of young man and lady facing one another and connected by a red string. Both are bowing to each other which symbolizes a married couple taking their matrimony vows in a traditional Chinese matrimonial ceremony. A step-by-step manual is installed at the side to guide devotees on the proper way to pray to Yue Lao and to seek His blessings. Red strings are provided at the altar for couples/individuals to tie the strings on Jia Ou Tian Cheng to seek blessings.
Deities of Harmony – He He Er Xian
He He Er Xian originates from the ethnic Han community and are worshipped to seek blessings for good marriage and harmony in the family. It is believed that the two Deities – Han Shan (寒山) and Shi De (拾得) – were monks from a temple during the Tang Dynasty. Han Shan was a poet who lived in the deep mountains. Shi De was abandoned at birth by his parents. He was saved by monks who were collecting alms. Shi De grew up at the monastery and was ordained as a monk and tasked with duties in the kitchen. He often gave excess food in the Temple to Han Shan. Both live harmoniously with each other and they share the teachings of Buddhism, arts and literature. Poems written by both were well received and were compiled into a book by later generations. The Chinese community honored their friendship and cohesiveness, and worshipped them as Deities He He (和合) since the Song Dynasty. During the Qing Dynasty, the Emperor bestowed Han Shang as Deity He Sheng (和圣) and Shi De as Deity He Sheng (合圣). The names of both Deities became well known thereafter.
Tiger Lord – Hu Ye
Hu Ye is one of the many Deities that is commonly worshipped by the Chinese community to safeguard the village and the temple’s premises. Hu Ye paves and leads the way during temple celebrations as Hu Ye expels spirits and monsters along the route. Hu Ye also protects children and hence it is a common for Hu Ye to be the godfather of children. There is a saying that “The tiger bites money”. Henceforth, devotees also pray to Hu Ye for luck and prosperity. Hu Ye is traditionally enshrined under the main altar and offerings generally include eggs and meats. In the Chinese community, devotees carry out the tradition of praying to Hu Ye or the folk ritual of “Hitting the Villain” (打小人). It is believed that Hu Ye will open His mouth during the 2nd Lunar month, known as Jing Zhe Jie (惊蛰节). It is said that Jing Zhe Ri (惊蛰日) will witness thunderstorms that strike fear in insects and animals. This day differs year-on-year and the date and time will be calculated and announced by a qualified Master Taoist priest. Devotees will pray to Hu Ye for luck and prosperity on this day. Please check the webpage of Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong Temple Association in the back in the 1st Lunar month of the year for the date, time and other information on the “Opening of Mouth of Tiger Lord”.
Di Zu Gong (Earth Deity) is enshrined at the side of Hu Ye. Di Zu Gong is commonly worshipped by the Hokkien and Cantonese communities and His birthday falls on the 14th Day of the 7th Lunar month. The Deity is traditionally enshrined under the main altar table or at places that resemble a cave.
Warrior Deity of Prosperity
The Warrior Deity of Prosperity (Wu Cai Shen 武财神) is also known as Zhao Gong Marshal (赵公元帅) or Zhao Gong Ming (赵公明). He is believed to be from Zhong Nan Shan (终南山) and lives in seclusion and trains in the deep mountains. He is believed to have the ability to avert the light and thunder, eliminate diseases and illnesses, and bless prosperity and benefits for trade. As Zhao Gong Ming used to protect a place for Zhang Tian Shi (张天师), the Chinese believed in putting up a picture of the Deity of Prosperity on their doors to bless the households. A high statue of the Warrior Deity of Prosperity has been enshrined at the entrance hall of Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong Temple since the Lunar New Year in 2007. The Temple had invited the celestial soul of the Deity from Qing Cheng Shan Tian Shi Dong, (青城山天 师洞), Szechuan (the original temple that worships the Warrior Deity of Prosperity) to take His place at Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong Temple. The statue has a black face and thick beard. He holds a cane in his right hand and a gold ingot in his left hand. He dons a warrior attire. Annually during the eve of Lunar New Year, Master Taoist Priests from the Temple will lead devotees to pray and to usher in the God of Wealth. Thereafter, devotees are to bring home the lighted God of Wealth joss sticks and to place them in the incense urn at their altar tables at home. For those without an altar table, the lighted joss sticks may be placed in a temporary incense urn in the living room, and left to burn off completely.
12 Zodiac Animals
The origin of the 12 Zodiac Animals can be traced to beliefs in honoring of these animals; namely Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. These animals represents the form in which the Twelve Earthly Branches of the Chinese sexagenary cycle. People often use these animals as a guide for choosing ideal matrimonial dates, forecasting of one’s destiny and/or fortune. Behind every animal is its own unique legend and these have guided the development of the belief into a philosophical explanation system of the Chinese culture. This is used for matching of marriages, prayer rituals and fortune for the year.
In modern days, these animals are viewed as auspicious items as part of the Lunar New Year celebrations which has become part of the Chinese culture. The stone sculpture of the 12 zodiac animals are placed at the side of the entrance hall of Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong Temple. Panels with information on the fortune of each zodiac animal are installed beside each corresponding sculpture. Devotees will read up the information published to find out their fortune for the year or as a reference guide to the year’s destiny. This activity has become one of the main attractions for devotees at the Temple during the Lunar New Year and other festival celebrations.
Deity of Vehicles – Xi Zhong Deity
Xi Zhong (奚仲) Deity was worshipped by the Chinese in ancient time. According to legend, Xi Zhong and his son invented wooden wheels for horse carts to assist the village folks to transport heavy goods. This invention may be viewed as the start of what we have today – transportation vehicles. Xi Zhong earned the respect of the villagers and was subsequently worshipped as a “Deity of Vehicles (车神)” for blessings of safe and smooth journeys on the roads.