Every year on the eve of Chap Goh Meh, the Hai Choo Soo (Sea Pearl) Tua Pek Kong temple in Tanjung Tokong is a hive of activity.
Reason? It's the annual Chneah Hoay (flame watching) ceremony during which the intensity and height of flames from the deity's urn is supposed to predict the economy of Penang for the next one year.
As usual, from about 11.50pm last night, all lights in the temple were switched off so that the Chneah Hoay committee could watch out for the flames without distraction.
The newspapers are reporting the temple's president, Lim Chooi Beng, as saying that embers from the 60 burning joss sticks ignited after about nine minutes of the first fanning, signifying that the economy would be slow in taking off, the second fanning took about two minutes while the last was only a minute.
According to him, the deity predicted that the economy would be slow during the first four months of the lunar year (Feb 7 to June 3) but it would be improving from mid-year onwards.