THE annual Penang Chinese New Year celebration returned to the George Town enclave bringing vitality back to the streets.
The event, also known as Miao Hui, was held virtually for the past two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year, excited visitors relished the chance to watch cultural performances and visit exhibitions, open houses and workshops as well as savour traditional food besides exploring other activities.
Thousands were treated to festivities across 11 roads in the enclave, with volunteers from 23 clan associations and groups operating in each section.
Among the most popular activities to kick-start the event were a stage show in Armenian Park, where numerous groups of dancers performed, and the opening ceremony on another larger stage at the northern end of King Street.
Lion and dragon dances also took place at different locations such as in King Street and Armenian Street.
One such performance by two lions at Khoo Kongsi thrilled visitors as they were allowed to get up close to the lions to snap photos.
Children, especially, had fun broadening their knowledge of Chinese culture at craft workshops.
Lee Hooi San, 42, said her two daughters aged six and eight were excited when exposed to calligraphy and paper-cutting.
Other activities included games and biscuit-making.
Josephine Moey, 59, one of the Sayang-Sayang Dancers, was proud to be given the opportunity to showcase the Peranakan culture.
“We want everyone to know about Penang’s rich culture,” said Moey, who performed two dances at Cheah Kongsi.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who took part in the opening ceremony, was happy to see traditions being passed down to the younger generation.
“The beauty of Penang lies in the people’s hearts,” he said, referring to the “Everything begins from the heart” theme for this year’s celebration.
He commended all the organisations involved in the festivities for their dedication and hard work in making the event a success.
To usher in the Year Of Rabbit, a giant inflatable bunny mascot was placed at the intersection of Chulia Street and King Street, attracting many visitors seeking photo opportunities.
Organised by Penang Chinese Clan Council with Penang Cultural Inheritors Society as its planning and coordination partner, Miao Hui has been celebrated since 1999, which was also the Year of the Rabbit.