No where else does Chinese New Year quite like Penang. For two weeks Penangites let off fireworks, watch parades and lion dances, visit temples to burn incense, spend time with family, and of course eat, eat and eat. Every year there is also a large-scale George Town-wide street party jointly organized by various temples and clan associations. This year it takes place on 9th of February, 2019 (the 5th day of the Lunar New Year).
Many clan temples will open their doors to the public, hosting exhibitions and craft activities to showcase their history and culture. A stage will be set up for performances of traditional Chinese folk and orchestral music. Actors will roam the streets dressed as characters from classical Chinese tales, and appetites will be whetted by the constant aroma of cooking from street food stalls. And of course the best of Penang’s many lion dance troupes will entertain the crowds with their spectacular agility leaping between poles and interactions with the spectators.
I am indebted to Teh Chin Liang for the photos accompanying this article, which are taken from Dave’s Travel Corner. The photos and a description of the festivities (also known as Temple Fair) in 2018 can be read here.
Everything happens on the streets of the Unesco zone of George Town, from 4pm until 11pm on February 9th. Updates on the programme and additional information can be found on the organiser’s Facebook page.