AUSPICIOUS vibes can be felt across Penang’s leading shopping centres and hotels, thanks to vibrant and fascinating displays put up for Chinese New Year.
Decked in ravishing reds and glistening golds, they symbolically shower prosperity and good fortune upon all for the impending Year of the Rat.
Whilst the profusion of floral blooms also emphasise the joys of springtime and reunions, some of the elaborate setups also transport one to a different world.
Visitors to Gurney Plaza will find themselves whisked back to the Shanghai period thanks to a retro cityscape illuminated by dazzling neon signs. An old-fashioned diner, tram, boutique and pulled rickshaw complete the glamorous ‘Rhythm of Light’ backdrop.
“Besides creating something colourful to light up the new year, our intention was to give shoppers many different corners for photo taking.
“Before the time of large shopping malls, this is where crowds would gather and do their festive shopping, ” centre manager Peter Chan said.
A different facet of the Chinese city can be seen at Gurney Paragon Mall’s Atrium and Galleria where charming ‘Old Shanghai’ gardens feature cherry blossom trees, fragrant flowers and Oriental architecture.
Marketing communications head Jasmine Tai said the vintage flavour is on-trend and ideal for the Lunar New Year when festivities are typically about nostalgia and tradition.
Dive into the ‘Majestic Ocean Palace’ at Queensbay Mall’s Central Atrium and let a pair of grand dragons introduce you to all the fascinating denizens of the deep, including exalted turtles.
Instagram-worthy moments await at areas nicknamed Shellie Shallow, Crabie Deep, Fishie Sunken and Jelly Hollow. Equally eye-catching are water pillars and iridescent pearls glinting in sunlight.
“We see ourselves as the trendsetter in festive decorations. This year, it’s based on elements, starting with water. It was inspired by ancient mythology of an undersea palace, ” its assistant manager Lee Sue Ling pointed out.
‘A Journey of Opulence’ awaits visitors to Straits Quay Retail Marina. Cross the bridge over a pond teeming with koi and lotus, to find a grand pavilion and lush garden with bamboo and flowers.
“One can also toss coins into rotating ingots and make wishes, ” marketing manager Gillian Tan said of the display located at the Straits Court, adding that some 800 lanterns are also spread across the mall.
At Sunshine Square, shoppers are welcomed by a grand archway bearing the characters for Gong Xi Fa Cai and adorned with floral motifs and lanterns. More of the latter also adorn the atrium promotions area.
Meanwhile, decorations are more traditional at Gama Supermarket and Departmental Store, where red flowers and lanterns enhance the ambience for customers shopping for festive apparels and necessities.
Hotel Equatorial Penang’s lobby centrepiece has eight giant Chinese lanterns alongside gold coins and red fabrics, encircled by hexagonal structures filled with colourful red and pink peonies.
“The colours symbolise good fortune and joy, while the number eight is associated with wealth and success, ” reasoned general manager Andreas Knussi.
Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa celebrates the next reigning zodiac with five mice figurines in cute poses, accompanied by plump representations of the God of Prosperity at its Spice Market Cafe.
“Guests find it amusing and many stop to take photos with it. We’ve also put ang pows with info cards about the Chinese zodiacs in every room, as a way of sharing the local culture with foreign visitors, ” said director of communications Suleiman Tunku Abdul Rahman.
Over at the Penang mainland, Sunway Carnival Mall is an auspicious place to be. A ‘Bank of Luck’ is the main feature of a Chinese garden at the Main Concourse that brims with bottle gourds, cherry blossoms and bamboo trees.
Also boasting a pavilion, the richly symbolic setup is part of a collective theme for Sunway Malls across Malaysia to shower visitors with good luck, good health and good fortune for the year ahead.
In Alor Setar, Aman Central presents an impressive ‘Springtime Rhapsody’ display inspired by royal Chinese palaces, but with a touch of Western elements.
A 9m-tall peony-lined pavilion is the main feature of the regally red setup at the Central Atrium, complemented by lots of lanterns, flowers and other structures.
“We hope this ecstatic expression of springtime charm will shower shoppers with good luck, prosperity and wealth as they celebrate togetherness with their families, ” marketing communications senior manager Ken Chin said.
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