Sea of colours: The massive crowd enjoying the celebration held at Bishop Street in Penang.
GEORGE TOWN: A huge crowd turned up to watch the colourful events of the Penang Chinese New Year Cultural and Heritage Celebration.
Basking in the glow of lanterns and echoes of traditional Chinese music, thousands of revellers had an exciting time taking in the traditional showcases, performances and displays.
A change of venue – from the Armenian Street enclave where the previous 14 editions were held – to the financial district this year, gave the festivities a different atmosphere.
At the junction of Beach Street and Church Street, a grand archway, strung with lanterns, greeted visitors and proved to be a popular photo-taking backdrop.
A series of performances, from a Chinese orchestra to the rumble of Dragon Dance, Lion Dance on Stilts, Chingay and Chinese Drum troupes, kept the crowd entertained.
Customer service executive Jerry Tan, 35, brought 10 family members along. A Penangite, he currently works in Kuala Lumpur and was back for the Lunar New Year.
“This is all quite new and exciting to us as it’s the first time we are visiting the celebrations,” he said during the event on Saturday.
At the main stage, also on Church Street, Penang Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and local clan elders were treated to a series of performances from multicultural dances by local performers, as well as an adorable “Little Horses” dance by youngsters dressed in colourful, equine costumes.
Along Bishop Street, wushu, shaolin and Ip Man Wing Chun performers showcased their martial arts prowess, while the people feasted on local delicacies at a food fair.
At Penang Street, a display of vanishing trades and traditional handicraft evoked memories of a bygone era.
They included rattan crafts, lithography, signboard engraving, Chinese paper cutting and dragon beard candy.
American backpacker couple Darren and Stacy Johnston, both in their late 20s, said they tried to time their holidays to coincide with local celebrations.
“This way, one can really experience the culture of the place visited,” Darren said.
Event sponsors Star Cruises also gave away four sets of its 4D/3N Phuket-Krabi cruise, and three sets of its 2D/1N High Sea cruise, both aboard the SuperStar Libra, in a lucky draw.
At the stroke of midnight, attention turned towards the sky, as a brilliant fireworks display capped off the celebrations with a bang.
The event was jointly organised by the Penang State Government, the Penang Chinese Clan Council and the Penang Clan Associations Youth Committee.