Helloindonesia.id – Manado is one of the regions in the archipelago that has long lived in pluralism. This is not a mere figment, the article in the capital of North Sulawesi there is a temple that is about 300 years old called the Ban Hing Kiong temple.
Etymologically, the name Ban Hing Kiong comes from the Chinese language which consists of three words, namely Ban which means many, Hing means abundant blessings, while Kiong can be interpreted with Palace. So literally, the name Ban Hing Kiong can be interpreted as a place of worship that was built as a palace of God and has abundant blessings. Since its establishment about 300 years ago, this oldest temple in Manado has historical records that surround it. The permanent form of the temple building was inaugurated in 1819, and underwent several restorations in the period 1854-1859 and 1895-1902.
According to the records of the temple management, the Ban Hing Kiong temple building experienced a fire on March 14, 1970 which destroyed the main building of the temple. Then in 1971, the Ban Hing Kiong temple was rebuilt to resemble a burning temple building. On September 10, 1994 or coinciding with 2545 of the 8th month of the Chinese calendar, through the Pwa Pwe ceremony, which is a large prayer ceremony, the Ban Hing Kiong temple was inaugurated to be standing again.
Taking a closer look at the temple building, visitors will see so many symbols at the entrance. These symbols certainly contain the sacred message they carry. When stepping on the floor under the gate, humans are likened to being in a worldly life towards a holy life. It is also imprinted on the road that was passed from the original narrow to the wider road. The widening courtyard of the temple means that God always helps his people by providing a way out of every problem in life. When looking at the temple building, visitors’ eyes will focus on the boat-shaped roof. In a spiritual sense, this implies that God and Goddess always help, protect, and save mankind.
On the main door of the temple there is the inscription Hong Tiau U Sun Kok Thay Ping An which means rain and wind in harmony with the people and the country is peaceful. While on the left and right of the main door of the temple, there is a small door that directly connects to the main room of worship. Behind the worship room, there is a worship room as a space used for inner enlightenment and experiencing the compassionate attitude of the Gods and Goddess.
Ban Hing Kiong Temple is not only a place of worship with a long history of existence, but also rich in the meanings of the symbols it presents. In addition, the existence of the Ban Hing Kiong temple in Manado also represents the very high level of pluralism of the people of North Sulawesi and must be maintained and preserved within the framework of Indonesian diversity.