Drumming up mood for festive cheer


Serene Tan, 29 (left) taking a wefie with her family members at the Chinese New Year decoration in Queensbay Mall, Penang. —Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB, LIM BENG TATT and CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

THE vibrant Chinese New Year decorations put up by shopping centres in Penang will help uplift spirits in these challenging times.

Radiating auspicious vibes with gold and red, these eye-catching scenes create an ambience of festivity as the Year of the Ox approaches.

With smaller crowds due to the ongoing movement control order (MCO), those who stop by for groceries and essentials often have the backdrops all to themselves for a selfie or two.

At Straits Quay, visitors can ‘Leap Into Abundance’ with a trio of lions perched atop platforms adorned with peonies and weeping willows at its Straits Court entrance. One of them unfurls an auspicious scroll.

Marketing manager Gillian Tan said the lion dance head was the main decorative element this year as it symbolises power, wisdom and good fortune in Chinese culture.

“Lion dances are believed to be able to ward off evil spirits, so we are hoping for a brighter year ahead and an end to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shoppers at Gurney Paragon Mall enjoying the feel of  springtime with cherry blossom trees lining the Festive Square. Shoppers at Gurney Paragon Mall enjoying the feel of springtime with cherry blossom trees lining the Festive Square.

“Last year had been a challenging one for most industries and we hope visitors will be able to attract health, wealth and prosperity when they walk through our 16.8m-long ‘Ong Path’.

“Though this Chinese New Year will feel different, the mall felt it is still important to keep the festive vibes high to usher in new hope and new beginnings, ” Tan said, adding that they have also put up 900 red lanterns.

The Spring Garden of Prosperity that sprouted up at Gurney Plaza has lots of cherry blossom trees surrounding a pavilion and several thundering drums.

Look around and you would also spot butterflies.

Centre manager Peter Chan said the graceful creatures represent hope, endurance and courage, as the transformation they undergo in their life cycles are emblematic of new beginnings and a better chapter of life.

“Malaysia is a beautiful multi-cultural country and every festive celebration gives us an opportunity to bring joy and hope to our shoppers. Although we are still under the MCO, is it important to create a positive sentiment to welcome the new year.

A visitor at Straits Quay taking photos with the display of three lions perched atop platforms surrounded by peonies, weeping willows and lanterns.A visitor at Straits Quay taking photos with the display of three lions perched atop platforms surrounded by peonies, weeping willows and lanterns.

“Our decorations symbolise renewed hope that 2021 will bring better fortunes in the fight against Covid-19, ” Chan said while explaining the display at the Central Atrium.

The wonders of spring can also be felt at Gurney Paragon Mall with its Atrium and Kelawai Entrance bedecked in pink flowers and lanterns.

Its St. Jo’s building also sports decorative window coverings whilst the Festive Square has cherry blossom trees for celebrations themed ‘Chun Zhi’.

Marketing and communications head Jasmine Tai said it means ‘welcoming spring’ - the season where everything starts anew.

“While we remain vigilant and conscious of new norms, we also wanted to give shoppers a feeling of hope and better things to look forward to this Chinese New Year, ” she added.

Gurney Plaza’s Spring Garden of Prosperity is filled with cherry blossom trees, butterflies, lanterns and drums.Gurney Plaza’s Spring Garden of Prosperity is filled with cherry blossom trees, butterflies, lanterns and drums.

Queensbay Mall’s Blooming Bliss setup allows visitors to stroll along a zig-zag path designed with physical distancing in mind, to reach a grand pavilion in the centre.

From there, one can take in the richly symbolic scenery of leaping koi over a lotus pond.

The fish are associated with good fortune and prosperity, while the lotus is considered a sacred flower in many parts of Asia.

As it stems up from mud yet maintains snow-white roots, the lotus is associated with nobleness and unsullied character.

The external pillars at Gama wrapped in auspicious murals and surrounded by cherry blossoms, lanterns and faux firecrackers.The external pillars at Gama wrapped in auspicious murals and surrounded by cherry blossoms, lanterns and faux firecrackers.

Red lanterns, cherry blossoms and scrolls complete the scene.

Gama Supermarket and Departmental Store wrapped some internal and external pillars with Chinese New Year-themed murals and complemented the look with faux firecrackers, lanterns and cherry blossoms.

Senior marketing manager Leong Hau Soon said their location at one of George Town’s main intersections makes it easy to spread the festive mood to all motorists and pedestrians passing by.

“Our wish is that everyone stays safe and healthy. We hope the pandemic will be over soon, ” she added.

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