Bharathanatyam, South Indian religious dance

July 7th 2019 marks eleven years since George Town, together with Melaka, was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, and this year the annual celebrations of the event are as elaborate as ever. The UNESCO listing encompassed the intangible heritage of the site as much as the architecture, and fittingly, this theme this year is Let’s Celebrate – Rituals and Festive Events and so the weekend will highlight the ways in which the traditional communities of Penang celebrate births, weddings religious days in harmonious coexistence despite differences in ethnicity, religious beliefs and culture.

Malay community shredding pandan leaves

Together with the now traditional annual Street Festival, the organisers have arranged site excursions aiming to educate visitors about the history, culture and traditions of each site.

The Street Festival will take place on Saturday 6th July from 6pm till 11pm in the George Town UNESCO World Heritage area.  22 local communities will showcase handicrafts, run workshops, demonstrations, cultural performances and games. These take place in various locations with major performances on the main stage in Armenian Park and on the dance floor. All activities are free of charge. The performances range from Teochew opera, Indian dance, Japanese folk songs and Malay royal gamelan shows to rock n’ roll from the Eurasian community and a Capella choral music by the Voices of the Penang Philharmonic.

Javanese dance

For more information about the Celebrations and registration of the site excursions, please visit, call 017-428 1848 or follow George Town Heritage Celebrations on Facebook (for the latest updates.

Each site visit offers a rare opportunity to be guided around an important community building in George Town. They are chargeable (RM 30 for Malaysians, RM 50 for foreigners) and you must register in advance as places are limited. The visits with registration links are as follows:


Sikhs making roti

Saturday July 6th

9am – 11am, State Chinese (Penang) Association. Jalan Perak, register

12pm – 2pm, Nattukottai Nagarathar Heritage Society, Lebuh Penang register

Sunday 7 July 2019
10am – 12pm, Kapitan Keling Mosque, Jalan Buckingham register

1pm – 3pm, Penang Eurasian Association, Jalan Kelawai register

4pm – 6pm, Gujarati Samaj Penang, Jalan Green Hall register

Monday 8 July 2019
10am – 12pm, Wadda Gurdwara Sahib Penang, Jalan Gurdwara register

4pm – 6pm, Nam Hooi Wooi Koon, Lebuh Chulia register

Updated information can be found on the website, Facebook page (George Town Heritage Celebrations) and Instagram (@heritagecelebrations)