Monday, February 23, 2009

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival Celebration

This year... I decided to celebration Chinese New Year in a different way. Instead of working or spending time just with friends & family, I decided to explore & experience how Penang celebrates it... and be apart of it!

So, I went for Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival Celebration. This is actually a yearly affair but being a not-so-loyal Penangite (trying to change now...) this is only my umm.. 1st time! But I was so excited! With my new toy - the 450-d fully charged, a 2gb memory card... I was ready to charge! It was a very very hot day. I now understand how golfers feel. When you're doing something you are really passionate about... come rain or shine, it don't matter!

I really do not know what to expect from this celebration.. To be honest, I don't expect much. I was actually wondering... 'will there actually be many people'? 

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
such creative decor outside a hse close to armenian street

it's made out of tin cans! 

this is the start.... :)

normally, Armenian Street is quite a quiet street...

I am a sucker for red stuffs, lanterns & the sky... Love the street decor!

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
This is right outside of Edelweiss Cafe

Love the pencil drawn pictures of our heritage...

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
all the young & old penangites are out to enjoy this festival!

being an artsy person who loves to create all things small & cute... I was immediately drawn to this booth surrounded by lots of 'fascinated' people! These detailed animals are made out of shells! All the colors in its natural state - WOW! I honestly felt like I'm visiting a foreign country *shy*

heheh... I'm not the only person snapping away like crazy!

Isnt that clown sooo cute? I love the hat!

and can u see that dragon? talk about cre-a-ti-vi-TEE!

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
A street artist! 
I used to see lots of them in Sydney's weekend market. Each weekend, I'm fascinated all over again! 

so nice... Art & handmade crafts are just so priceless..

the artist

we requested for the artist to give us a life demo :) and he obliged!

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
note the tools he uses! that is not even a brush... it's more like a wooden tool

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
and his hands! 

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
that's all he uses... a few cans of paint, a wet cloth, wet sponge, wooden tool & his hands! 


Then we arrive @ the Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple. For the Penang Cultural & Heritage Festival, this temple is used as the place to display all the chinese celebrations.


I've passed this building many many times when I stroll along Armenian St. Each time, I wonder what's inside and wish to go IN! Today being the open house for all the clan houses, we get to go in. Just at the front, I'm already awed by the structure and design of the entrance 

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
look at the crafts & art all around

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
love this painting of the Tiger & the cub

and it's 3-d! oohh I would really like to be challenged to do this on a cake! 

and then we reached in.... I honestly did not expect to find such a beautiful temple inside here. It looks so small from the outside! I did not know where to start pointing my camera. It has just been restored recently... 

Among the celebrations displayed @ this temple is..

1. Qing Ming Festival (aka All Soul's Day)

According to wikipedia, tomb sweeping day & clear brightness festival are the most common English translations of Qingming Festival. 

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
For the Chinese, it is a day to remember & honor one's ancestors @ grave sites. Young & old pray before the ancestors, sweep the tombs and offer food, tea, wine, chopsticks, (joss) paper accessories and/or libation to the ancestors. The rites are very important to most Chinese & especially farmers. Some people carry willow branches with them on Qingming or put willow branches on their gates and/or front doors. They believe that willow branches will help ward off the evil ghosts that wander on Qingming. Read more here..

2. Dong Zhi Festival 


This is a yummy festival - read it here

3. The Jade Emperor's Birthday (Pai Thnee Kong)

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
this celebration is my absolute favorite! Being a 'hokkien' we celebrate this in a very grand way. Read about it here
Lots are offered to the Jade Emperor during this celebration. Among them are:

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
a) peach buns

b) dried stuffs - dates, mushrooms, peanuts

c) fruits - banana, pinapple, apple

d) 'money' papers

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
e) i know this as - mee koo - a type of bread


there were also displays of some traditional items



A long lantern just outside of the Hock Teik Cheng Sin temple


From Armenian Street, we turned into Cannon Street where the infamous Khoo Kongsi is!

Lanterns are hung along the entire street all the way towards Acheh Mosque. It's amazing how diverse the culture of Penang is. 

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
I really enjoyed myself. There's so many things for you to stumble upon every few meters! I love this lion.

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
And then we visited the Anak-Anak Kota located along Cannon Street. Their efforts to educate the young about Penang's heritage is amazing! Kudos to the Anak-Anak Kota team. Check them out - click here!

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
I love this shot :)


And then.... we turn onto Acheh St. My nostrils immediately tracked down a Sate stall! 

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
more scenes of lanterns with the mosque as the backdrop...

Along Acheh St, they set up some canopies & re-lived all those traditional games which we used to play! I know I loved them while in Primary School! Congkak!! And to find foreigners learning how to play them... ohhh I'm so impressed and proud of our Penang's Tourism Board. I truly am...

They also had other games - batu tujuh (i used to be one of the batu 7 queen!!), skipping ropes made with rubber bands, hopscotch, and many more! If I wasn't holding the camera... I would have been going crazy playing these games again!


As soon as we continued on with our journey, I saw some commotion ahead. And suddenly....

a man with whistle wearing traditional costume appeared! 

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
a traditional bridal car!! I never knew it existed here in Penang! I've only seen it in the movies!

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
and more fantastic decors - the rooster!

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
hehehe... i cannot help it... I took so many lantern decorations! Love them especially against the blue sky :)

and suddenly.. more commotion! I'm serious about the few meters another surprise...!!

A traditional puppet show! I squeezed my way through a big crowd. 

Hand made chinese puppets! Sadly, I was too busy taking pictures I'm not sure what the story line was... Seems like they are fighting!

Look at the hand drawn back drop!


This guy looks like a king? He's wearing a crown!

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
And then, I slowly pushed my way to be able to see what's going on behind! I expected to see 'uncles' performing but no! The narrator of the story is a guy but the puppet performers are ladies! woo hoo! This is my first chinese traditional puppet show! I felt like a little girl all over again going 'oooohh' & 'ahhh' over all these...

and there's a replica of what most houses set up @ their houses to celebrate Jade Emperor's Celebration (Pai Thnee Kong) - See why I like this celebration!? So many colors... so vibrant :)

This is actually a huge joss sticks that will take hours to burn. Look at the fine details of the dragon... I need to find out how they do these... Should try it on my cuppycake! The dragon is actually circulating around the joss stick!

There's also a set up of a traditional chinese wedding... 

And oh! More lions!! I thought's it is for display purpose only until when I heard someone shouting 'eh sai start liao!' [english: can start already!] I was standing just next to them! Overwhelmed and unsure what's going on... I just kept on looking through my camera lens and shoot using multiple shot! 'Kia su' of missing out...

A lion performing right in front of me!

read more about Lion Dance here



Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival

The lion dance's very own band! I believe they are school students


While I was going crazy snapping shots of the lion dance performance... I heard very loud commotion coming from behind me and the crowd were all moving towards the loud commotion... I turned around and saw...

Dragon dance! I could not squeezed through in time. I could only get this shot!

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
Disappointed, I continued shooting the pretty lantern decor
and suddenly... this appeared! The dragon head right in front of me blocking my lanterns!!!

and what followed behind the dragon was even more amazing!

School students performing lion dance!!! So many of them! I clicked non-stop. Here's my 10% :P 

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
lion A

lion B


lion C

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival

lion D - also my personal favorite

lion E

Penang's Cultural & Heritage Festival
lions F

oh it was amazing! I think I was at the right spot @ the right time! All these happened within less than 10 minutes! I had front line show again... Not a great idea because I was too close up but then again, if I am NOT front line,  I will not be able to get ANY shots!

What's a party without BALLOONS?!

Char Koay Teow aunty frying away while a tourist looks on curiously - heheh

Before we left, we bypass this other entrance of a temple. I'll have to look for another day to come & explore what's inside. I'm sure I'll continue to find amazing hidden treasures... I'm so faraway from being a 'real' Penangite..

I'll definitely be back for next year's Cultural & Heritage Festival. In fact, I'm so looking forward to it. It's from 12pm - 12am and I only saw about 2 hrs of performance... 

I wonder what I've missed!