Heritage Day events to feature exciting oral traditions

EXPLORE the unique stories of historical communities in the heart of George Town, Penang, at the Heritage Day Celebrations 2017 from tomorrow to Sunday. 

Themed ‘Walk the Talk: Oral Traditions and Expressions’, it highlights the folk tales, proverbs, epics, charms, prayers and dramatic performances of 13 different groups.

There will be engaging activities that shed light on how these communities survived through the years, how they safeguarded their heritage, and continue to live out the oral traditions that their ancestors brought over centuries ago.

Executive producer Dr Ang Ming Chee (pic) said traditional know-ledge had always been orally transmitted and embedded in daily living, often with little to no formal written records.

“As these are gradually disappearing due to the changing lifestyles of contemporary society, it is vital to preserve them for future generations.

“We spent seven months visiting communities from different language and dialect backgrounds to collect their oral traditions and expressions for public presentation in this celebration,” she said.

Among the activities lined up is the ‘Site Excursion: Discover Our Oral Traditions programme’ on all three days, which gives one insight into the customs at six places of worship of different religions.

It starts at the St. George’s Church at 2.30pm tomorrow. On Saturday, it is on at the Wadda Gurdwara Sahib at 10.30am, Masjid Melayu Lebuh Acheh at 2.30pm, and Masjid Kapitan Keling at 5pm.

On Sunday, it will be at the Kong Hock Keong (Goddess of Mercy Temple) at 2.30pm and Sri Mahamariamman Temple at 5pm.

The event highlight is the Street Festival from 5pm to 10pm on Saturday, covering Lebuh Armenian, Lebuh Cannon, Lebuh Acheh, Lorong Soo Hong, Lebuh Ah Quee, Lorong Lumut, Lebuh Buckingham, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling and Jalan Kampung Kolam.

Visitors will get to meet the local communities there, attend story-telling sessions, watch cultural performances, learn to read and write in ancient scripts, listen to tales or even sing along to folk numbers.

Organisations that will open their doors to the public include the Wadda Gurdwara Sahib, Nattukottai Nagarathar Heritage Society, Badan Warisan Masjid Melayu Lebuh Acheh and Penang Hainan Association.

Joining them are the Telugu Association of Malaysia (Penang Branch), Gujarati Samaj Penang, Masjid Kapitan Keling Qaryah Committee and Indian Muslim Community Organisation Malaysia, and Penang Teochew Association.

Completing the list are the Penang Hindu Association, Penang Siamese Association, Liga Muslim Pulau Pinang, North Malaysia Malayali Samajam and State Chinese (Penang) Association.

Besides these open houses, there will also be two stages hosting performances – at the Armenian Park (5.30pm to 10pm) and Kampung Kolam (7pm to 9pm).

The line-up includes Boria by the Cultural Heritage Education Programme, Carnatic Music and Odissi Dance by the Temple of Fine Arts Penang, Dikir Barat from the Perdana group, and Kathakkali by Narthana Fine Arts.

Also featured are Lan Na Fon by the Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, Potehi Glove Puppet Theatre by Ombak Potehi, Teochew Opera Singing by the Teochew Puppet and Opera House, and Yasugi-bushi by the Hozon Kai group.

Alternatively, sign up for paid activities like the Heritage Trail walk starting at 9am (Mandarin) and 10am (English) tomorrow, which covers the Chowrasta Market-Campbell Street-Penang Bazaar route. The fee is RM30.

On Sunday, there is an Interactive Heritage Game, themed The Forgotten Memoirs, at the premises of event organisers George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) from 8.30am. Fees are RM100 for a group of two to four people.

For detailed event information, visit gtwhi.com.my/gthc2017.

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