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No incense offering event at Waterloo Street temple for 3rd year in a row: report

The Chinese New Year's eve incense offering event (left) at the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple in Waterloo Street. (PHOTOS: Reuters/Google Maps)
The Chinese New Year's eve incense offering event (left) at the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple in Waterloo Street. (PHOTOS: Reuters/Google Maps)

SINGAPORE — Despite the easing of most COVID-19 restrictions in Singapore over the past year, the traditional Chinese New Year incense offering event at the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple in Waterloo Street will not be happening this year.

A temple spokesperson told 8world News on Thursday (5 January) that its opening hours Chinese New Year's eve on 21 January will be from 7am to 6.30pm.

This means that the incense offering event - which typically begins on the night of the Chinese New Year's eve - will not be held this year.

This is the third year in a row the temple has made such a decision. In 2021 and 2022, the temple had also cancelled the incense offering activity to protect its devotees during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

Temple still open on 1st days of Chinese New Year

Before the pandemic, thousands of devotees would be rushing towards the temple hall, hoping to land the first incense offering of the Chinese New Year on the stroke of midnight. This is seen as a good omen for the devotees that their wishes for the new year will likely come true.

However, the past events were often crowded and hard to control, and this is likely the biggest reason why the temple is not restarting the activity yet.

While the incense offering event is cancelled, devotees can still visit the temple on the first two days of the Chinese New Year.

However, from 20 to 24 January, the temple will not be offering activities such as requests for protective talismans and fortune-telling practices. Only prayers for blessing will be allowed at the temple on those five days.

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