Penang’s Chinese New Year Cultural and Heritage Celebration was held in George Town last Saturday, which also marked the 7th day of Chinese New Year. Like the past years, the celebration would be held at the heart of the newly crowned UNESCO World Heritage Site which included Acheen Street, Armenian Street, Cannon Street, Ah Quee Street, Soo Hong Lane, Chulia Street and Kg. Kolam.
This year, the theme of the celebration took a turn to focus on moral values like Faithful, Filial piety, Etiquette and Justice – instead of featuring the 12 animal zodiac signs in the previous celebrations.
As such, the site of celebration was divided into 10 area and zones that featured a particular moral value or performance. For example Chulia Street was turned into Faithful Area, Lebuh Ah Quee into Etiquette Area, Cheah Kongsi into ‘The Old Penang Memory’, Penang Youth Centre into Wushu Stage etc.
The event was scheduled to start at 3pm but I was there early for parking as well as taking the opportunity to snap photos before people started to pour in. The main stage was at the start of Cannon Square where the brilliant Multi Cultural Traditional Welcoming Dance was performed.
The dance was performed beautifully and left the foreign tourists amazed, me included. I can confirm that from their expressions lol. Since I was at the side of the stage taking photos was difficult so I am showing the photos of the dancers taken at the back stage instead. As usual you can click on the photos to view them in full size.
I feel this photo got the 1Malaysia feel lol.
Chingay Performance at Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, which was also the main area of the celebration.
Then a troop of lion dance entered the main area leading a parade of people upholding banners of moral values.
Following the parade were a group of ladies in cheongsam..
Which eventually led to Danny Law, chairman of Penang Tourism, Culture, Arts and Heritage Committee to officiate the opening ceremony at Area of Etiquette.
Hawkers also took opportunity to earn extra income from the 100,000 visitors who thronged the event.
A make shift Hokkien Mee stall in front of the old Swatow Lodging House. Those who sold drinks were the most profitable ones because of the hot weather. I myself spent no less than RM10 on drinks that day.
Bangkok Pancake, a very rare food was available that day.. resulting in a flurry of photographers and videographers surrounding him like a movie star. No wonder he was smiling.
During this celebration the famous clan houses were open for their own lineup of events too. Cheah Kongsi was the site for ‘The Old Penang Memory’ with a wishing well, Prosperity Rice Stall and Happiness Candy Stall among some of the attractions.
Khoo Kongsi is best visited at night when the lights are turned on. It is also the most popular clan house to visit because of its Traditional Skill and Handicraft Demo.
Besides, Khoo Kongsi is a really majestic looking clan temple and sports some beautiful carvings and impressive workmanship – only possible with the skills of craftsmen from China.
Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple on the other hand had visitors showing their Chinese Caligraphy skills and also playing Chinese Chess. A singing competition was held here too with participants mainly from primary school. And now for the rest of the photos of the event..
‘The History of Clan Houses in Penang’ at Lebuh Armenian.
Further down the street that was decored with colorful flags that had Chinese surnames written on them. The green building in the background is Yap Kongsi adjacent to Yap Temple.
The entrance to view ‘The Exhibition of Surnames’ was shaped like a Dragon’s mouth.. interesting although a bit cartoonish.
A lion statue at 慈济宫.
The entrance of Poh Hock Seah (Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple) had a rather ferocious and scary white tiger being displayed.
A painring of Dragon can be found at 福德祠’s right wall at the entrance.
While the left wall has a painting of Tigers.
A random cherry flower used for decoration along the streets, fake of course.
A whole roast pig seen at the ‘Native Place Region’ along Lebuh Acheh where an exhibition of 12 Seasonal Festivals was held.
Lantern Riddle got the people cracking their heads for answers in front of Syed Alatas Mansion, an Islamic museum.
Then some street walkers dressed in costumes to portray some historical figures. Guan Yu is seen here accompanied with two Gold and Silver boys.
八仙 (pronounced Ba Xian) or Eight Immortals – a group of legendary fairies in Chinese mythology portrayed by teens walking on stilts.
Tiger Dance ‘Woo Hoo’ and God of Prosperity. No doubt people wanted to take photo with him.. HUAT ah!
Another Choi San, he looked much more professional though lol.
Yue Fei was a crowd favorite too..
Tua Pek Kong giving out numbers for you-know-what.
High school girls from Chung Ling were in charge of the Chinese traditional paper handicraft station. On display were animals (mostly from the 12 zodiacs) folded out of red paper.
Police were there to escort the VIPs in and out of the event. But what surprised me the most follows..
They let the visitors ride their bikes and pose for photos lol. And they were completely cool about it and even looked amused!
None other than Penang Chief Minister’s car.. a Mercedes Benz car plate no PG 1, nice.
Drums that were lined up for a performance by female drummers, how rare. It is a pity I missed the performance.
Every year the International Hotels would participate in the event as well by setting up food stalls. One of the hotel’s mascot was a parrot, he was quite loved lol.
When night approached the best place to be was Khoo Kongsi because the lights at the grand clan house would be turned on, making it look even more beautiful. On the way to the complex are rowhouses with craftsmen doing a demo of traditional handcrafts.
A funny Taiwanese Puppet Show was held at the theatre directly opposite Khoo Kongsi Temple.
Children and adults playing a enlarged version of snake and ladder next to the temple.
Also present were some traditional food stalls like candy floss and “ding-ding” candy.
Indian putu mayung too.
Finally, the Khoo Kongsi Temple at night at its most magnificent, the view was simply breathtaking. For a moment you wouldn’t believe you are in Penang. Anyway, I was only waiting for that moment and I left just before the symphony and orchestra performance. I was just too tired. And because of that I missed some other highlights of the event like the Wushu, Lion Dance and fireworks performance, too bad for me. So if there’s any event to go in Penang, the Chinese New Year Cultural & Heritage Celebration gotta be it, especially if you’re an avid photographer.