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Seng Wong Beo Temple, Singapore Overview

Sitting behind the crimson gates at Peck Seah Street, the quirky Seng Wong Beo Temple, also known as the Du Cheng Huang Gu Miao Temple, has unflinchingly preserved the age-old practice of hosting ghost marriages. Devoted to Wei Ling Gong, the Chinese City God, this temple is where the wedding bells are chimed for the deceased.

Apart from the presiding deity, Seng Wong Beo also houses the glorious idols of Justice Bao, Martial Guan Di, Tua Li Ya Pek, Wen Chang Di Jun, and Xiao Zi Gong, among others. This quaint temple was established in 1905 by Reverend Swee Oi, and is devoid of the regal features of the other places of worship in Singapore. The extraordinary rituals and charms, however, make up for it and give an enchanting appearance to it that is pleasing to the eye. This tranquil place of worship is supposedly the only one in this contemporary city-state which has not changed its mystical ceremonies with the changing times. This occult ceremony is conducted when the family members of both sides come forward and wish to unite the departed souls. Sometimes, a matchmaker is requested to bring together two families looking for an appropriate partner for a deceased family member and the two departed, marriageable souls are united in holy matrimony.

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Ghost Marriages at Seng Wong Beo Temple

The rituals of the ghost weddings do not follow the rules of the conventional Catholic wedding. There is nothing old, nothing new, nothing borrowed and nothing blue. These marriages take place in the backyard of the holy temple, with the scent of incense sticks encompassing the entire area. The families call upon a priest who comes in to cleanse small paper doll figurines which represent the bride and groom. These figurines are served with food offerings and tied together with a red thread after. They are then led through paper gates and over paper bridges before being presented with models of paper beds, cars, furniture, and a house as gifts from the family members. All these presents are torched at the end of the ceremony in an incinerator located within the temple itself.

The final step in reaching the completion of this ritual is the ring ceremony. The priest slips in a wedding ring on the finger of the effigy of the groom, after which his mother asks the spirit of the bride-to-be if she would like to be wedded to him. Two moon blocks are tossed in the air and if both lands on “yes” on the divination board kept ready on the ground, the priest weds the two souls and blesses them after the mother of the bride-to-be slips the ring on her effigy.

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