Lanterns bring on festive cheer


  • Metro News
  • Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020

The red and yellow lanterns on display at Sin’s shop in Lebuh Carnarvon in George Town, Penang. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

Chinese New Year will not be complete without red, hanging lanterns as these are considered must-haves for the festive season.

Lantern shop owner Sin Chuan Wah, 55, said each year when the festive season approaches, he needs to stock up on various types and sizes of lanterns to meet market demand.

“The demand is there every year, regardless of whether customers bought them the year before or not.

“This is because we Chinese believe that you need ‘guang’ (light) to illuminate your paths, your homes and anywhere you want light sources to fall on.

“So the Chinese would usually buy these lanterns and hang them up outside their homes, in their gardens or along walkways.

“It not only creates a festive feel but also adds a prosperous touch to the mood of a home or place.

“If you look at Chinatowns across the globe, all of them have lots of round, red lanterns hanging along their walkways.

Sin showing two Rat-themed decorations for CNY.Sin showing two Rat-themed decorations for CNY.

“This is because the Chinese believe the colour red on the lantern symbolises prosperity and the lantern itself has become a main festive decor,” he said at his shop along Lebuh Carnarvon in Penang.

Sin obtains the lanterns directly from suppliers in China.

There are over 50 types and style of lanterns at his shop.

“In Penang, we sell mainly red and yellow coloured lanterns, usually round shaped ones as they are seen as the more prosperous items,” he said.

Sin also said other than prosperity, hanging red lanterns also symbolise good fortune.

“As such, each Chinese New Year, regardless of the economy, there are always people looking to buy new bright red lanterns,” he added.

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