This year marks the 6th Ban Ka Lan Chinese New Year celebration at the Penang Snake Temple.
The Ban Ka Lan (or Flame Watching) festival is held annually during the Chinese New Year period, as a ceremony to predict the year’s economy by observing the intensity of the flames during the ritual. The festival is also held to celebrate the birthday of the deity of the snake temple, Cheng Chooi Chor Soo Kong.
Scenes from the Thaipusam festival celebration in Penang.
A Hindu festival mostly celebrated by the Tamil community every year, the Thaipusam festival for this year falls on the 31st January. The most notable or intriguing scene from this festival is the kavadi-bearers, devotees who usually had their bodies pierced while undergoing a pilgrimage as part of their offerings for their gods during the festival.
This year’s Heritage Day celebration and festival are being held from 7th to 9th July at the heart of the heritage zone in George Town, such as the areas around Armenian Street, Kampung Kolam and Ah Quee Street. The theme for this year’s festival is “Walk the Talk: Oral Traditions and Expressions”, which showcases the local communities’ culture and language/dialect such as Indian Muslim, Teochew, Malayalam and Telugu. There will be cultural shows, interactive activities and performances along with history-guided trails on the origins of the heritage streets in George Town.
The 3 days festival starts in the evening till the nights.
Today marks the birthday of the Jade Emperor deity.
During the Chinese New Year’s 15-days period in Penang, the celebration for the birthday of the Jade Emperor will fall on the 9th lunar day of Chinese New Year. This day is particularly celebrated a lot by the Hokkien community in Penang and is also commonly referred to as the Hokkien New Year. There will be lots of prayers, food offerings and various festivities held for the Jade Emperor on this day. Two popular areas in Penang where this day is celebrated are the Jade Emperor Pavilion temple at Ayer Itam and the Clan Jetties area at Weld Quay, George Town.
The Penang Heritage Celebrations for this year will be held from 4th to 7th July in George Town city. It is an annual event celebrated to mark the anniversary of the city’s recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The event this year will start off with a food festival in several streets within George Town.
Today marks the celebration of Deepavali, the Festival of Lights, which is widely observed by Hindus around the world. Deepavali is a public holiday in Malaysia.
The Chinese Hokkien community would be celebrating the birthday of the Jade Emperor, or Thnee Kong Seh, today at 12am — the ninth day of the Chinese lunar calendar. As the clock strikes 12 midnight, the celebration would be kicking off with prayers often accompanied by the sound of firecrackers and offerings to the Jade Emperor. For the local Hokkiens here, this day is in fact celebrated even more extravagantly than the first day of Chinese New Year and is also known as the Hokkien New Year.