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.
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.
The annual Chinese New Year celebration which is held in George Town’s heritage area. The celebration usually features various traditional arts and performance of the local Chinese culture.
Scenes from the Penang Thaipusam festival. During the festival, the breaking of the coconuts is a ritual practiced by Hindus as an act of cleansing and also to symbolize the renounce of one’s ego at the feet of the presiding deity Lord Muruga (usually carried on a chariot).
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.
An old art work featuring a Kavadi bearer located nearby the Indian temple, Sree Maha Mariamman Temple, in Butterworth.
A Kavadi carrier walking through the crowded road to the temple during the Thaipusam festival in Penang.
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.