PETALING Street took on a carnival-like atmosphere when two lion dance troupes made their way through the popular tourist spot to greet shop owners and visitors ahead of the Chinese New Year celebration.
Locals who were eating at popular breakfast joints were surprised to see the lion and dragon dances, together with the God of Prosperity and characters from Journey to the West who came walking on stilts.
The group began their procession from the Kuan Ti temple in Jalan Tun H.S. Lee before moving to Petaling Street or Chinatown, then to Jalan Hang Lekir, Jalan Sultan and back to the temple.
At the main entrance of the temple, visitors and tourists had lined both sides of the road to cheer the dance troupes on.
Students from the Confucian Private Secondary School made the scene merrier as they played diabolo and handed out mandarin oranges and red eggs to the public.
Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) women division chairman Ng Geok Chee said the Petaling Street Lunar New Year Festival was introduced to give the popular shopping street a more positive image.
“Locals always have the impression that the street is occupied by foreign traders and we want to change that perception.
“There are still many popular local stalls here and they (the locals) need to come and see for themselves,” said Ng.
She added that there was a need to preserve the heritage and legacy of Petaling Street to ensure that the younger generation will not forget its history.
The event was part of a three-day festival co-organised with the Bukit Bintang parliamentary office, Petaling Street Heritage House, Kuan Ti temple and the KLSCAH women division.
It also featured more than 30 stalls on Jalan Tun H.S. Lee selling Chinese New Year cookies, cakes, arts and craft, clothes colouring and sketching sessions, plants and local street food.
Petaling Street Heritage House curator Chong Keat Aun said the street market was held to attract youth to visit Petaling Street to shop for their Chinese New Year must-haves.
“Nowadays, only the older generation return here to shop while students and young working adults prefer to go to shopping centres instead,” he said.
Previously, the street market was only held for a day and due to time constraints, many missed it.
“This year, we have attracted the most number of visitors, especially at night and we are very pleased and with the response,” said Ng.
Chong and his friends also ensured there were activities throughout the day for both young and old to participate in such as Chinese opera, Teochew puppet show, opera make-up classes, calligraphy writing and Chinese art painting.
Earlier in the day, Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun launched the event with the organisers by tossing yee sang on stage.
The dish was later distributed to the public.
He also put the finishing touch to a 36m-long painting featuring hundreds of colourful peonies and two pigs.
The painting by 30 artists took two hours to complete.