A CRIMSON tide of auspiciousness has Penang in its vibrant embrace, heralding the arrival of Chinese New Year and the reign of a new zodiac animal.
This is most evident in shopping centres and hotels, where last holiday season’s wintry wonders have been replaced by spring blooms and Oriental charm.
Many locations are also experiencing avian invasions, as roosters and their cousins flock in to remind all that the coming year, is theirs to rule.
One such bird stands atop a pile of gold bars and platform outside Gama Supermarket and Depart-mental Store.
Assistant marketing executive Mohd Ekhsan Abdul Satar said the 3m-high display reflected the store’s tradition of featuring each year’s prevailing zodiac sign.
“Our decorations reflect the essence of the celebration to have joyful reunions with loved ones, and enjoy good fortune and prosperity for the coming year,” he added.
At the Gurney Paragon Mall, shoppers are welcomed by a brilliantly coloured cockerel at its Kelawai Road entrance.
Some 9m tall and 13.7m long from body to tail, it is complemented by golden eggs and bright red lanterns inside, as well as a golden stage for festive performances in front of the St Jo’s building.
Hunza Group executive director Khor Tze Ming said: “We want shoppers to be immersed in the spirit of Chinese New Year, and hope this gilded ambience will fill us all with positive energy and prosperity for 2017.”
At Flamingo Hotel by the Beach in Tanjung Bungah, the heartwarming scene of a rooster and hen alongside their two chicks, have enticed many guests into snapping memorable holidayselfies.
“After all, Chinese New Year is a time for many generations to reunite and gather,” said its general manager Ong Hai Leong.
Visitors to G Hotel Gurney will find more poultry, with the most notable being a 3m-tall cockerel standing guard at the lobby. Its body has real feathers for plumage, plucked from some 400 feather dusters.
Its G sign and that of sister property G Hotel Kelawai have also been transformed into cute smiling chickens, dotted with gold coins and floral motifs.
“We hope it will shower good tidings upon everyone for the coming year," said marketing communications (marcom) director Christina Tan.
Neighbouring Gurney Plaza recently made headlines with a giant 6m-tall phoenix amidst a garden of cherry blossoms, which similarly symbolises new hope and better things for all.
Rooster cutouts keep watch over shoppers at Sunshine Squares’ atrium promotions area, as marcom manager Bryan Wong explained: “We've returned to a traditional feel, with elements that have an auspicious meaning.”
At Kompleks Bukit Jambul, visitors are welcomed by the cute figure of a mother hen roosting over golden eggs and hatched chicks. Joining them is the God of Prosperity while lanterns rain down from above.
All Seasons Place has a 6m-high golden sculpture with a cutout rooster motif. It is framed by a 7.3m-wide archway of cherry blossoms and peonies.
“It reflects our theme – A Spring Filled with Fortune,” said assistant manager of marketing and leasing Joseph Tan.
A flock of 68 cockerels have made themselves right at home in Queensbay Mall’s snowy Chinese town that appears all set to celebrate the Lunar New Year, otherwise known as the Spring Festival.
Other establishments have gone with more traditional embellishments to celebrate the season commonly associated with rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal and regrowth.
Patrons strolling into Straits Quay Retail Marina will find themselves framed by abstract branches of plum blossoms, some 7.6m high, together with lanterns and roaming roosters.
Themed Prosperity in Blossom, it highlights plum trees as they bloom through winter, representing hardiness and hope.
Hotel Equatorial Penang’s centrepiece is an Oriental-styled pavilion brimming with lanterns, orange plants and a rooster cutout.
“We wanted to reminisce about old traditions, and these have long been symbols of abundance, good fortune and prosperity,” said public relations executive Gillian Tan.
Vouk Hotel Suites has a mini spring garden, complete with cherry blossoms and auspicious Chinese characters, that guests could snap photos with.
On mainland Penang, The Light Hotel has crafted a revolving rooster carousel lantern which marcom manager Siti Fatimah Packeer Mohd said had generated much interest among guests.
“We went with three roosters as the number is symbolic in Chinese culture.
“It sounds similar to the character for birth and relates to life cycles,” she added.
Aman Central in Alor Setar in neighbouring Kedah is taking shoppers back to olden Shanghai, having transformed its central atrium into a representation of the city during imperial times.