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.
At the side of the the stairs leading up to the Snake Temple in Bayan Lepas, Penang, lies an art mural depicting a postman with his bicycle and a postbox. The bicycle is an actual bicycle attached to the wall while the rest is painted.
The Snake Temple (also known as Temple of the Azure Clouds) is located at the sourthern end of Penang, not far from the Penang International Airport. The small temple is home to a few varieties of snake species, mostly pit vipers (although the number of snakes there are getting fewer now due to nearby industrial development).
According to legend, the temple was built in to worship a deified monk who was also a great healer. Before the building of the temple, the monk had given shelter to the snakes of the nearby jungle and when the temple was completed, the snakes moved in.