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Festivals

JANUARY ~ FEBRUARY

*New Years Day
January 1, is a national public holiday. Expect to find merry-makers and hooligans dancing on the streets and stomping on cars when the clock strikes Midnight.
 

*Thaipusam
F e a t u r e  S t o r y
 

Sang Cho Kong
Celebrated by the Chinese community on the 24th day of the twelfth moon. As reference, in 1996, it was celebrated on February 13. The Kitchen God keeps track of domestic happenings and flies off to heaven at the end of every lunar year to report on the family. To keep his lips sealed, an offering of sweets is made just before he embarks on his celestial journey so that he’ll report only good and sweet things about the family.

Chinese New Year’s Eve
A family reunion dinner among all Chinese families would be held this evening. This is also a good opportunity to swap stories and gossip among themselves. All accounts for the old year have to be settled before the end of the last work day, and no debts are to be collected during the first 15 days of the New Year.
 

*Chinese New Year

The first day of the first moon in the Chinese lunar calendar. For the next fifteen days, it is time to make the rounds, visiting relatives and friends to wish them Gong Xi Fai Cai or Keong Hee Huat Chye. Children receive Ang Pow (hongbao) from married adults. Lion and dragon dance troupes and acrobats are called to homes, institutions, and temples to bless the new year with prosperity.

Thaipusam Spectacular
While there are many Indian festivals that celebrate the rice harvest, the stars and light, Thaipusam is by far the most spectacular.The celebration here is more intense than the one in native South India.

Penangites once again celebrate the birthday of Tua Pek Kong (The God of Prosperity) in a grand manner...

 Hungry Ghosts in Penang

... that throughout the seventh month of the Chinese Lunar calendar, children and young toddlers alike should be kept from going out of the house, lest unrested souls lure them to the kingdom of the dead!

Mooncakes are only sold during the Mid-Autumn Festival or Festival of Lanterns celebrated on the eight month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

The moon on the 15th day of this month is brighter than that on any other month of the year.

The first two days of Chinese New Year are national public holidays and were celebrated February 7 & 8, 1997. This is a family holiday and celebration.

Unless you are Chinese or very close friends with a Chinese family, Chinese New Year will seem like any other day, except that traffic to Batu Feringghi will be backed up, prices will double all over town, and restaurants will be closed or fully booked. A good time for expatriate families to get out of town.
 

Birthday of Chor Soo Kong
Chor Soo Kong is the deity of the Snake Temple in Sungai Kluang, is celebrated on the 6th day of the first moon. As a reference point, in 1996, it was celebrated on February 24, Chinese opera is performed in front of the temple afternoon and night.
 

People's Day
"Everyone's" birthday is a Chinese festival on the 7th day of the first moon. To celebrate, the Chinese community will feast on a traditional dish of "seven vegetables".
 

Birthday of Jade Emperor
To honour Yu Huang, the Supreme Ruler of Heaven, offerings are made to him at temples. The celebration actually starts on the Eve of Jade Emperor’s Birthday on the 9th day of the first moon. All night long, crowds throng the Thnee Kong Thnua at the foot of Penang Hill next to the Lower Station to pay homage.
 

FEBRUARY ~ MARCH

Chnea Hoay
This is a flame watching ceremony held at the Tua Peh Kong Temple, Tanjong Tokong. On 11.00pm this day, the temple lights are switched off and joss embers are fanned to a flame. This divination ceremony is organized by the members of the Poh Hock Seah (Precious Luck Association) to forecast the economy of Penang for the coming year.
 

Birthday of Tua Pek Kong
A Chinese celebration on the 15th day of the first moon. At the Tanjong Tokong temple, devotees offer incense in honour of the Tua Pek Kong, God of Prosperity. Chinese opera will be staged in afternoons and evenings during this season.

 

F e a t u r e  S t o r y
Once every twelve years, the God of Prosperity walks the streets of George Town.
 

Chap Goh Meh
A festival celebrated on the first full moon of the Chinese New Year. Young Chinese girls come to Esplanade to throw mandarin oranges into the sea and wish for a good husband.

 

Dondang Sayang groups go round the town serenading the Cop Goh Meh crowds, singing their pantuns from beautifully decorated buses. The singers pit their wits and voices against each other in a duel of love songs. They are usually accompanied by musicians on the violin, accordion, and skin drums.

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