Discover cultural treasures in Chinese New Year celebration at Malaysia's Penang
People visit the Penang CNY Celebration in George Town, Penang, Malaysia, Jan. 28, 2023. (Photo by Chong Voon Chung/Xinhua)
The organizer hopes that through the Chinese New Year celebration, every Chinese descendant will have the opportunity to receive and pass on the essence, energy, and spirit inherited from their ancestors.
GEORGE TOWN, Malaysia, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- With the sound of the gongs and drums, a golden-haired "lion" jumped on two-meter high poles, demonstrating its amazing flexibility and agility. The scene attracted large crowds taking photos and videos on their phones.
The lion dance was performed in the heritage precinct of George Town, the capital city of Penang state, Malaysia, on the evening of Jan. 28, when the 2023 Penang Chinese New Year Celebration (Miaohui) was held.
Besides lion dances, this year's Miaohui, or temple fair was filled with other activities, such as dragon dances, Hakka song singing, playing diabolo, magic tricks, among others. In addition, musical performances with a host of traditional Chinese instruments, including Guzheng, flutes, Erhu and suona, also attracted many audiences.
The children visiting Miaohui were curious to watch and take part in traditional cultural activities, such as paper-cutting and making dough figurines.
Children learn paper-cut art at the Penang CNY Celebration in George Town, Penang, Malaysia, Jan. 28, 2023. (Photo by Chong Voon Chung/Xinhua)
According to Chief Minister of Penang Chow Kon Yeow, Penang Miaohui began in 1999, the Year of the Rabbit. This year Penang Miaohui is 24 years old. Despite the harsh challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years, this celebration was still held online and was not canceled.
Nowadays, Penang Miaohui is not only a celebratory feast during the Spring Festival, but also a platform to illuminate traditional Chinese culture.
In different ancestral halls, visitors can learn myriad cultural aspects and facets. For example, in Ng See Kah Miew, or the ancestral temple of Ng clan, which was built in 1897 by the Ng forefathers, they can learn the architectural structure of mortise and tenon.
In Lee Sih Chong Soo, or the clan association for the Chinese surnamed Lee, they can learn about the different categories of traditional Chinese medicine, understanding the influence of Li Shizhen, a Chinese scholar of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), and his highly-influential Ben Cao Gang Mu (Compendium of Materia Medica) on modern society.
Performers perform dragon dance at the Penang CNY Celebration in George Town, Penang, Malaysia, Jan. 28, 2023. (Photo by Chong Voon Chung/Xinhua)
In the Nin Yong Temple, young people, in particular, can learn about the spirit of Guan Yu, the famous ancient Chinese general known as the Chinese god of war, through the related exhibition inside and are educated on benevolence, brevity, and intelligence.
Leong Keng Fei, Chairman of the Penang Chinese Clan Council, the organizer of the event, said that since the Penang Miaohui was held in 1999, it always focused on promoting traditional cultures. Visitors were encouraged in the ancestral halls and temples to experience and learn the cultural treasures left by ancestors, and to find the roots deep in their souls.
The organizer hopes that through this method, every Chinese descendant will have the opportunity to receive and pass on the essence, energy, and spirit inherited from their ancestors.
Penang is a state with a high population of Malaysian-Chinese. More than 200 years ago, many Chinese came here and made contributions to its economic and social development.
Performers perform lion dance at the Penang CNY Celebration in George Town, Penang, Malaysia, Jan. 28, 2023. (Photo by Chong Voon Chung/Xinhua)
Nowadays, Malaysian-Chinese still cherish and pass down traditional Chinese culture to future generations through celebrating Chinese festivals like the Spring Festival, which falls on Jan. 22 this year.
Zhou Youbin, Chinese Consul General in Penang said that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Malaysia comprehensive strategic partnership, and next year is the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations.
"I hope that every overseas Chinese will seize this opportunity, to help integrate China with the rest of the world and be part of the Belt and Road initiative, and to support this constructive and mutually beneficial relationship between Malaysia and China."