THOUSANDS of visitors have been thronging the Snake Temple in Bayan Lepas, Penang, ahead of its inaugural Ban Ka Lan Snake Festival.
The festival, held in conjunction with the Year of the Snake, is being held today and tomorrow to mark the birthday of the resident deity Chor Soo Kong, which falls on the sixth day of the first Chinese lunar month (tomorrow).
A group of friends from Kuala Lumpur who were on holiday in Penang were among those spotted at the temple.
Marketing executive Sharon Lim, 28, said she took a week off from work to celebrate Chinese New Year with her family in Penang.
“Today, I came with some childhood friends to this temple to pray for good health and success for the coming year,” she said.
Her friend Tan Lee Tay, 30, from Balik Pulau, said they would come back again today for the festival.
“It is the first time the temple is having such a festival, and we can’t wait to join in,” said the sales executive.
The highlights today include a snake dance featuring a 15.5m ‘green serpent’, Chiah Hoay (flame- watching ceremony) by various Chor Soo Kong temples, a lion dance and fireworks.
Activities lined up for tomorrow include a demonstration by a snake charmer, traditional cultural dances, chingay and stilt walking, and a Chinese arts and crafts exhibition.
The Snake Temple, built in the 1850s, is one of the oldest temples in Penang.