KUALA TERENGGANU: They may not be as popular as their Penang and Malacca counterparts, but the spotlight will shine on the Terengganu Peranakan community this month.
From Sept 12 to 20, Kuala Terengganu’s Kampung Cina will host the inaugural Terengganu Peranakan Festival – nine days packed with events and activities to showcase the state’s unique Peranakan heritage.
Like Penang and Malacca, Terengganu also has a rich Peranakan heritage but with its own distinct qualities.
In those two states, the men and women are referred to as Baba and Nyonya but in Terengganu, they are called Mek and Awang.
“The nine-day festival, held for the first time, will not only attract tourists to the state but it will also educate them on this unique heritage that we have,” said Alex Lee, the festival’s organising chairman.
The festival is the brainchild of the Terengganu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCCI) and is supported by the state’s tourism board.
Like those in other states, Terengganu’s Peranakan culture is a blend of traditions from both Malay and Chinese lifestyles.
Activities such as cooking classes and nightly food market will be held to promote Terengganu Peranakan delicacies, while fashion shows will showcase the traditional attires.
Other activities include stage and street performances, a photo exhibition, contests, walking tours and more.
The highlight of the festival would be the night parade during the opening ceremony on Sept 12, said Lee.
“Our aim is also to show that Terengganu is not just about island getaways and eco-tourism holidays. In the future, tourists headed for the islands, hopefully, will also spend a few days in Kuala Terengganu to appreciate the state’s heritage,” said Lee.
He added that TCCCI expected to draw about 50,000 people during the nine-day event, with about 5,000 outsiders coming in from the state specifically for the festival.