GEORGE TOWN: It’s going to be a crowded affair in Penang on Feb 5, when the state will host two major celebrations – Chap Goh Meh and Thaipusam.
After two years of muted celebrations, some 1.5 million devotees are expected to throng the Arulmigu Sree Balathandayuthapani Waterfall Hilltop Temple, where the colourful kavadis will be making a grand comeback for Thaipusam.
Temple management chairman Datuk Seri P. Kuvenaraju said up to 30,000 kavadis were expected.
“This year, we expect a huge crowd coming to pay homage as many had to postpone fulfilling their vows due to the pandemic.
“The number is expected to hit 1.5 million devotees as the festival falls on Sunday and the next day is a public holiday,” he said yesterday.
Kuvenaraju said besides devotees from Penang and the northern region, those from Singapore, Medan, Jakarta and even London would also be here for the festival.“Prayers at the temple will start on Feb 3, followed by the golden and silver chariot processions on Feb 4 and Thaipusam on Feb 5, while Feb 6 will see the return journey of both the chariots,” he added.
He said the number of coconuts to be broken during the chariots’ processions might triple this year, though this could be moderated by the fact that each coconut now costs RM2, compared to RM1.30 in 2019.
Meanwhile, State Chinese Penang Association president Datuk Seri Tan Gin Soon said two dondang sayang troupes would be making a grand comeback during Chap Goh Meh (the first full moon of the new lunar year) on Feb 5.
“We have two floats and the procession will begin at 7pm, heading towards the Esplanade,” he said.
Tan said the itinerary was still being finalised as it was a collaboration with the state government.
“We will hold a dinner on Feb 4 at the grand ballroom of Lot 33 in Prangin Mall, which will be open to the public,” he added.