THERE will be no Chingay processions in Penang this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Penang tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said the Penang Pesta Chingay Festival on the island, which was scheduled for Dec 12, has been cancelled.
“The Seberang Prai Chingay Parade on the mainland, which was supposed to take place on Dec 19, has been cancelled too.
“This decision was made considering huge gatherings are not encouraged for the time being to prevent new Covid cluster cases.
“Besides, it is hard to ensure physical distancing during these programmes as there will be hundreds of people involved, including participants and the event organisers, ” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Seberang Prai Chingay Parade 2019 organising committee chairman Lay Hock Peng said although the participants were excited to take part in the festival, they understood that the celebrations need to be called off for the safety and good health of everyone.
“We understand that the cancellation is vital as it is difficult to control such a big crowd.
“We have been organising Chingay parades on the mainland for more than 11 years and it takes a lot of teamwork and support from the state government, public and organisers.
“We have a lot of audience coming from Penang mainland, island and even Kedah.
“It is regrettable that the festival has to be called off this year but we will definitely come back stronger in the future when the pandemic is under control, ” he said.
During the annual festival, Chingay performers will show off daring feats like balancing giant flags on their forehead, mouth, hands, feet and other parts of the body.
They display great teamwork and understanding in handling the heavy poles.
Besides Chingay, the crowds are often entertained by lion and dragon dances besides several traditional performances.
The word ‘Chingay’ came from the word ‘chin yi’, which literally means authentic arts in Hokkien.