Chinese New Year Cultural & Heritage Celebration – outside Khoo Kongsi

As I was leaving Khoo Kongsi, I saw beautiful stalls from various hotels along Lebuh Cannon, just outside Khoo Kongsi.  Then I went over to Lim Kongsi to have a look around.  As I said I was early and the people involved were still setting up their stalls, but I did manage to get some nice photos to share with you.

Staff from Eastin Hotel still putting on the finishing touches.

Staff from Eastin Hotel still putting on the finishing touches.  Notice the snake motifs.

Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang

Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang

Stall with the laughing Buddha

Stall with the laughing Buddha

The hotel stalls were starting to prepare the food as it was almost 2.45 p.m

The hotel stalls were starting to prepare the food as it was almost 2.45 p.m.

Staff busy with food preparation to get ready for the crowd.

Staff busy with food preparation to get ready for the crowd.

The beautiful Yeap Kongsi

The beautiful Yeap Kongsi

Arch with the stage area in the background for the official programme and show at 5.00 p.m.

Arch with the stage area in the background for the official programme and show at 5.00 p.m.

Girls from Penang Chinese Girls' Private High School with their intricate paper cuts and gorgeous paper craft.

Girls from Penang Chinese Girls’ Private High School with their intricate paper cuts and gorgeous paper craft at Lim Kongsi, Penang

Beautiful beaded craft for sale at Lim Kongsi, Penang

Beautiful beaded craft for sale at Lim Kongsi, Penang

Lovely paintings at Soo Hong Lane.

Lovely paintings at Soo Hong Lane.

Chinese New Year Cultural & Heritage Celebration at Khoo Kongsi, Penang

The All Chinese Clans had their annual Chinese New Year celebration from 3.00 p.m. to 12 midnight on Saturday, 16th February.  After contending with the crowd at the Ban Ka Lan Snake Festival for 2 days, I decided to give this event a miss and did a sneak preview instead.  I went at 2.15 p.m. to see the setting up of the heritage enclave for the celebration and I was rewarded with a lot of interesting scenes (minus the crowd) so that I can take photographs undisturbed.

Of course, at Khoo Kongsi, people were denied entrance until 3.00 p.m. but I had a special pass to enter the premises.  I found there were passengers from a cruise ship waiting inside as they had bought tickets much earlier as part of their package cruise deal to see Khoo Kongsi, Penang.  I am sure they were disappointed in not being able to enter Khoo Kongsi itself, but they were rewarded with the beautifully-decorated courtyard.

At the entrance to Khoo Kongsi, Penang.  People were milling around waiting to go in at 3.00 p.m.

At the entrance to Khoo Kongsi, Penang. People were milling around waiting to go in at 3.00 p.m.

The walk into the courtyard of Khoo Kongsi, Penang. Wow.

The walk into the courtyard of Khoo Kongsi, Penang. Wow.

The gorgeous centre-piece greeting visitors as they walk in.

The gorgeous centre-piece greeting visitors as they walk in.  Another Wow.

Beautiful girls handing out programmes of the Chinese New Year Cultural & Heritage Celebration

Pretty girls handing out programmes of the Chinese New Year Cultural & Heritage Celebration.

Visitors from the cruise ship waiting patiently for the celebration to begin at 3.00 p.m.  What a friendly lot.

Visitors from the cruise ship waiting patiently for the celebration to begin at 3.00 p.m. What a friendly lot.

Wow, what a beautiful-decorated courtyard.

Fantastic!

Schoolboys all ready to teach visitors to play Chinese Checkers.

Schoolboys all ready to teach visitors to play Chinese Checkers.

Table for calligraphy.

Table for calligraphy.

All set up for a memorable musical afternoon/evening at Khoo Kongsi, Penang

All set up for a memorable musical afternoon/evening at Khoo Kongsi, Penang

Mr. & Mrs. Lim running the souvenir shop at Khoo Kongsi, Penang

Mr. & Mrs. Lim running the souvenir shop at Khoo Kongsi, Penang

Souvenir shop with a wide array of souvenirs.

Souvenir shop with a wide array of gifts.

Happy New Year from Khoo Kongsi, Penang.

Happy New Year from Khoo Kongsi, Penang.

Snake Temple – Flame Watching Ceremony by Cheng Hoe Seah on 14th February

On the eve of Cheng Chooi Chor Soo Kong’s Birthday, temples in Penang praying to this deity will bring their urns from 11.30 p.m. for the Flame Watching Ceremony.  I have never witnessed one before and it proved to be an interesting, albeit hot and smoky, experience. 

I went early to have a walk around and also to attend the official praying ceremony by the Trustees of Hokkien Kongsi, Penang and the official Festival Flame Lighting Ceremony by Mr. Teng Chang Yeow, which is covered at http://ritalim937.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/flame-watching-ceremony-at-snake-temple-penang-on-14th-february-2013/.

In this article I will try to show you the actual “Chia Hoay” ceremony by Cheng Hoe Seah, though I must say with the crowd, it was hard to get anywhere near the actual ceremony itself.  The height of the flame will give an indication of the economy of Penang for 2013.

If you want to know where Cheng Hoe Seah is, please visit http://ritalim937.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/where-is-hokkien-kongsi-penang/ for more information.

Devotees praying to Cheng Chooi Chor Soo Kong

Devotees praying to Cheng Chooi Chor Soo Kong

Wagleri pit vipers (common name temple pit vipers) were specially brought out to put on display for the spectators.

Wagleri pit vipers (common name temple pit vipers) were specially brought out to put on display for the spectators.

My Mandarin-speaking guide, Cheah Hock Cheok, showing me where Cheang Chew Association was at the Temples Photos Exhibition. We all come from this Prefecture in China.

My Mandarin-speaking guide, Cheah Hock Cheok, showing me where Cheang Chew Association was at the Temples Photos Exhibition. We all originated from this Prefecture in China.

Another view of the Temples Photos Exhibition

Another view of the Temples Photos Exhibition

My favourite shot - looking out from Kuan Yin Pavillion to the lighted Gazebo.

My favourite shot – looking out from Kuan Yin Pavillion to the lighted Gazebo.

Taiost priest and Trustees of Hokkien Kongsi, Penang paying their respects at Cheng Hoe Seah Booth.

Taiost priest and Trustees of Hokkien Kongsi, Penang paying their respects at Cheng Hoe Seah Booth – note the urn which was used for the “Chia Hoay” Ceremony later on.

Yeoh Chin Eng of Cheng Hoe Seah putting in joss-sticks for the Chia Hoay Ceremony. They he will fan the flame and watch the height of the flame.

11-30 p.m. – Yeoh Chin Eng of Cheng Hoe Seah putting in joss-sticks for the Chia Hoay Ceremony. They he would fan the flame and watch the height of the flame.

Mr. Teng Chan Yeow, Guest of Honour, fanning the flame.  (Said at the press conference later on, he was only the co-pilot, Yeoh Chin Eng was the pilot)

Yeoh Chin Eng fanning the flame.

Yeoh Chin Eng explaining to members of the press the fundamentals of the Chia Hoay Ceremony.

Yeoh Chin Eng explaining to members of the press the fundamentals of the Chia Hoay Ceremony.

Other members listening intently to the explanation.

Other members listening intently to the explanation.

Time to say goodnight.  It was 12.30 a.m.

Time to say goodnight. It was 12.30 a.m.

Fireworks Display watched by a large crowd.

Fireworks Display watched by a large crowd.

Sian Chye Tong, Hye Keat Estate, Air Itam, Penang

The main deity in Sian Chye Tong is Sian Chye Phor Sat (Kumara Sudhana Bodhisattva) popularly known as “Baby God”.  In Penang, all temples celebrate Chinese New Year by switching on their lights to usher in the new year and Sian Chye Tong is no exception.  To welcome the Year of the Snake, they have installed approximately 500 red lanterns together with LED lighting and these will be switched on daily from 7.30 p.m. to 12 midnight.   

It is a glorious sight to behold for devotees visiting the temple to seek the blessing of Sian Chye Phor Sat during the new year.  On Chinese New Year’s eve, prayers will be held and candles will be lit to ask for good health, good luck and prosperity.

They will have an open house to celebrate Chinese New Year at 7.00 p.m. on Saturday, 23rd February with a buffet dinner.

Sian Chye Tong

Sian Chye Tong

Altar of Amitabha Buddha & Bodhisattva

Altar of Amitabha Buddha & Bodhisattva

Altar off Amitabha Buddha

Altar of Amitabha Buddha

Kuan Yin - Bodhissattva Of Compassion

Kuan Yin – Bodhissattva of Compassion

Sian Chye Phor Sat

Sian Chye Phor Sat

Photos – courtesy of Peter Ho and Gary Khoo.  Thank you, Peter and Gary, and a Happy New Year.

Chinese New Year Decorations at Gurney Plaza, Penang

This is a very popular shopping mall in Penang and I also went there to see the Chinese New Year decorations.  It is an eclectic mix of Chinese, Peranakan (Straits Chinese in Penang) and European, if I can say so. 

At the entrance facing Gurney Drive, there is a very attractive Peranakan centre piece of the traditional basket (“sia na”), preserved fruits and oranges, beautifully arranged with lanterns complementing the décor.

In the atrium, interestingly enough, there is an “Oriental-Express” locomotive with lights and red lanterns giving it a very festive air.  It is the locomotive that makes it unique and “European”.

Not to be outdone, some outlets decked their shops with Chinese New Year décor.  To me Christmas in December, followed by Chinese New Year is my favourite time of the year.

Traditional Peranakan decoration at Gurney Drive Entrance of Gurney Plaza

Traditional Peranakan decoration at Gurney Drive Entrance of Gurney Plaza

European style "Orient Express" Locomotive at Main Atrium

European style “Oriental Express” Locomotive at Main Atrium

Red lanterns and lights hanging at Atrium giving it a very festive air

Red lanterns and lights hanging at Atrium giving it a very festive air

Body Shop

The Body Shop looking very attractive with its Chinese New Year decor

Astro promoting its products on the Ground Floor

Astro promoting its products on the Ground Floor

Promotion - buy a luggage bag and you get an artist painting it and putting a protective layer over the picture at no extra charge

Promotion – buy a luggage bag and you get an artist painting it and putting a protective layer over the picture at no extra charge

Good luck, good health and prosperity for the Year of the Snake.

Good luck, good health and prosperity for the Year of the Snake.

Straits Quay, Tanjung Tokong, Penang

I love checking out decorations at Shopping Complexes during festive seasons.  Of course, one of my favourite places is Straits Quay and I find their decoration very tasteful and elegant. Walking into the foyer, one cannot miss the auspicious colour of “red” for luck.

Straits Quay has lined up many interesting activities for Chinese New Year, but there was one special event which I was lucky to chance upon and I am going to share it with you.

Straits Quay

Straits Quay, Penang

Foyer selling Chinese New Year goodies

Foyer selling Chinese New Year goodies

Spring is in the air

Spring is in the air

What a gorgeous centrepiece in the Main Foyer

What a gorgeous centre-piece in the Main Foyer

Looking down from the staircase in the Main Foyer

Looking down from the staircase in the Main Foyer

After dinner, while walking  along the promenade, I chanced upon a very public marriage proposal.

After dinner, while walking along the promenade, I chanced upon a very public marriage proposal……

.....and acceptance - much to the delight of the crowd.

…..and acceptance – much to the delight of the crowd.

Such is the tapestry of life in Penang.  That is why I love my beautiful island and will not trade it for anywhere in the world.  A True Penangite, that is me.

Happy New Year from Penang.

Happy New Year from Penang.

Tapestry of Life in Penang – at Snake Temple, Penang, Malaysia

I enjoy blogging and I started this site to blog about scenes of life in Penang, hence the name Penang Tapestry.  I have not been able to start because I have been so busy blogging for Hokkien Kongsi, Penang helping to promote the Ban Ka Lan Snake Festival 2013.  Please come and support this festival as  the proceeds from this event are for Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital, Penang.

While covering and promoting this Snake Festival, I got to know the folks at the Snake Temple and they are really kind, wonderful and warm-hearted people.  A person I got to know is Mr. Tan Chin Hin, the professional  photographer based in the Meeting Hall of Snake Temple, who is also the Treasurer of Snake Temple Resident Area Committee.

While covering the Switching-on Lights Ceremony on 4th January, I was asked to be the “Master of Ceremony” as the Guest of Honour was Y.B. Dato’ Abdul Malik, and we needed to make announcements in English.  I was in a dilemma as I was busy taking photos for my article with  my trusty, little instant camera.  So Mr. Tan very kindly offered to send me his photos.  True to his word, he did the following day, and I would like to share them with you as they are so beautiful.  I would like to thank Mr. Tan for his kindness and his generosity.

On the left of photo is Mr. Tan Chin Hin, the professional photographer in the Meeting Hall of Snake Temple (photo taken by Writer)

On the left of photo is Tan Chin Hin, the professional photographer in the Meeting Hall of Snake Temple (photo taken by Writer)

Wagleri Pit Vipers, reared by Tan Chin Hin and his partners, for Hokkien Kongsi, Penang

Wagleri Pit Vipers, reared by Tan Chin Hin and his staff, for Hokkien Kongsi, Penang

Trustees of Hokkien Kongsi, Penang and friends waiting for the arrival of the Guest of Honour, Y.B. Dato' Abdul Malik, Adun Batu Maung

Trustees of Hokkien Kongsi, Penang and friends waiting for the arrival of the Guest of Honour, Y.B. Dato’ Abdul Malik, Adun Batu Maung

A pair of lions waiting to welcome Y.B. Dato' Abdul Malik for the Switching-on Lights Ceremony

A pair of lions waiting to welcome Y.B. Dato’ Abdul Malik for the Switching-on Lights Ceremony

Arrival of Y.B. Dato' Abdul Malik

Arrival of Y.B. Dato’ Abdul Malik

Lights, Camera and .....lo and behold, the lights came on at Snake Temple - start of the Ban Ka Lan Snake Festival 2013

Lights, Camera and …..lo and behold, the lights came on at Snake Temple, Penang – start of the Ban Ka Lan Snake Festival 2013

Happy New Year from Snake Temple, Penang

Happy New Year from Snake Temple, Penang

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The lights are now officially switched on for Chinese New Year

Supper time after all the excitement and the hard work.

Supper time after all the excitement and hard work

We would like to leave you with this beautiful image of Snake Temple, Penang

I would like to leave you with this beautiful image of Snake Temple, Penang

Thank you Mr. Tan Chin Hin for these beautiful photographs.  

For more information on the Ban Ka Lan Snake Festival 2013 to be held on 15th February at the Snake Temple, Penang kindly visit http://ritalim937.wordpress.com/