CLINKING glasses, joyous chatter and captivating oriental performances - the state-level Chinese New Year celebration was truly a grand and merry affair.
Held in the vast interiors of the Grand Valley Ballroom in Kinta Riverfront Hotel and Suites, around 1,500 guests dined their way through the night with a splendid eight-course sit-down dinner.
In his speech, organising chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said the Chinese New Year symbolised new beginnings, the start of spring and the harvesting of produce.
“During this time, the Chinese community would return home to join their family gatherings and pay their respects to the elderly.
“While we continue to uphold this tradition, this part of our culture is also seen in other festive seasons, like Hari Raya and Deepavali.
“Let us all come together and uphold the spirit of our multi-national country, where people of all races and religions can live happily together,” he said during the dinner on Sunday.
Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah, his consort Raja Permaisuri Tuanku Zara Salim, Raja Muda Perak Raja Jaafar Raja Muda Musa, Raja DiHilir Raja Iskandar Dzulkarnain and Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir were present as guests-of-honour.
They later took to the stage along with Dr Mah and other dignitaries for a yee sang tossing session.
Secondary schools throughout the state had worked hard to put on a good show for them and the audience.
SMJK Sam Tet students kick-started the show with a choir singing of the state anthem to greet the Sultan, followed by SM Pei Yuan students who impressed the crowd with their finesse in playing the Che Ling (Chinese Yoyo).
The Ipoh Chinese Chin Woo Athletic Association members gave them a run for their money as they performed Wushu moves, brandishing spears, swords and swirling nunchakus.
SMK Jalan Pasir Puteh’s 24 Seasons Drum troupe students were equally energetic as they pounded rapidly against their big drums.
The amazement did not end there when the Ma Ching Sports and Cultural Association in Ipoh members unveiled their popular 42m-long LED-lit dragon, the first of its kind in the country, once more.
The dragon dance also featured both LED-lit fishes and the “pearl of wisdom,” chased by the dragon.
The energy in the ballroom simmered down during the “water dance” performance by SM Poi Lam students, where girls donned beautiful blue oriental gowns and moved gracefully to the sound of music and flowing water.
The celebration also saw to the distributing of ang pow to 58 orphans and underprivileged children by the Sultan and Raja Permaisuri.