The various scenes from Penang’s historic Weld Quay featuring the annual celebration honoring the revered Jade Emperor. As devotees and onlookers gathered, the air was filled with the scent of incense and the sounds of fireworks, creating an atmosphere steeped in cultural richness alongside traditional performances at the main stage.
The Jade Emperor’s Birthday Festival, also known as the Heavenly Emperor’s Birthday or Thnee Kong Seh in Hokkien, holds deep cultural and religious significance in Chinese tradition. Originating from Taoist beliefs, the festival celebrates the birthday of the Jade Emperor, one of the most revered figures in Chinese mythology, believed to be the ruler of heaven and earth. The festival’s history traces back centuries to ancient China, where communities would gather to pay homage to the Jade Emperor with elaborate ceremonies, offerings, and prayers for blessings and prosperity. Thnee Kong Seh, is celebrated by the Hokkiens on the ninth day of the Lunar New Year.
A photo taken during the George Town Chinese New Year festival back in February 2020. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Movement Control Order, no large celebrations, travel or mass gatherings will be allowed for Chinese New Year.
Lion dance performance during the Chinese New Year celebration at George Town. Lion dance in Penang was found to have started during the 1930s, whereby it was a tradition brought over by immigrants from southern China back then. Hence, the common lion dance here is the southern lion dance style. Usually performed during Chinese New Year or any major Chinese event, the lion dance is believed to bring luck and fortune.
Founded and established by Dr. Sun Yat-sen in 1910, Kwong Wah Yit Poh (or Kwong Wah Daily) is one of the oldest Chinese language newspapers in the country and is predominantly read by the Chinese community in the northern region of Malaysia.
Every year usually during the month of March or April, Chinese locals will be paying respect to their ancestors during the Qingming Festival (also known as Tomb Sweeping Day and Clear Bright Festival). Qingming Festival is also commonly known as Cheng Beng by the local Hokkiens in Penang.
A Chinese tradition, the Qingming Festival is an opportunity for members of a family to remember and honour their ancestors at grave sites. Young and old pray before the ancestors, sweep the tombs and offer food, tea, wine, chopsticks, joss paper accessories, and/or libations to the ancestors.