Saturday, February 7, 2009

Penang Chap Goh Meh Celebration

For those who speak Hokkien, you would know that Chap Goh Meh literally means the fifteenth in the Chinese Lunar New Year. It marks the first full moon of the Lunar New Year and the Chinese community celebrates this happy auspicious occasion with various activities.

This year, the Penang State Government is happy to announce that the renowned Kun Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Association from Muar, Johor, whom has won 29 World Championship, will be performing their Lion Dance on Stilts at our Chap Goh Meh Festival. The celebration will start at 7.00pm and spectators will be treated to a variety of performances such as the Lion Dance and Chingay performance. Aside from cultural performances, be entertained with the Dondang Sayang performers and enjoy a 12 minutes firework.

The Dondang Sayang performers have taken into consideration those who would not be at the Esplanade. And one major highlight would include a Dondang Sayang Procession.

At the Esplanade around 7.30pm, the Dondang Sayang performers will lead the spectators to a mass joget session. This, I believe, would be a big and fun party for all present. For those who do not know how to joget , do not worry. The Dondang Sayang performers would definitely show us how a few simple steps would make it an unforgettable evening to remember.

However, the fun and festivity does not end there. After the mass joget session, the Chief Minister of Penang , Yang Amat Berhormat Tuan Lim Guan Eng, will have the honour of throwing oranges into the sea.

The throwing of tangerines into the sea is an important part of Penang ’s Chap Goh Meh cultural heritage. Traditionally, unmarried women Nyonya would toss tangerines into the sea. While doing so, hopeful unmarried men would try their luck at catching these tangerines in order to meet their future spouse.

Many decades back, the Chap Goh Meh Celebration is the only event where unmarried Nyonya women could be seen dressed in their kebaya nyonya either to throw oranges or to meet their sweethearts. But they were of course, accompanied by a family member.

After the Chief Minister throws oranges into the sea, four lovely Miss Pesta 2008 finalists and several beautiful models will lead the crowd in throwing oranges into the sea. Oranges will be sold to the public for RM1.00 each so that all spectators could also take part in this century old tradition. Proceeds from the sales of oranges will go to charity via Lions Club Bayan Baru.

Aside from the traditional orange throwing ceremony, there would be a lion dance on stilts performance by the international champion lion dance troupe from Muar - Johor, a dragon dance performance, Chinese New Year songs performed by a talented young boy, a Baba and Nyonya dance and musical performance, a Boria performance, a traditional Teow Chew Opera performance, traditional Indian dance and the must have for this year – the Ox Dance.

Later in the evening, the spectators will be entertained with a Lion Dance on Stilts Performance. Their realistic lion-like moves and world class acrobatic skills will definitely amaze the crowd.

After the Dondang Sayang performers entertain the crowd with yet another lively musical and dance performance, they will then leave Esplanade in a beautifully decorated and illuminated bus in a procession. The Baba and Nyonya muscial heritage will just not end with live performances for the crowd gathered at Esplanade. Sweet melodious music could also be heard from the brightly illuminated bus as it passes through several major roads leading to Babington Avenue from the Esplanade.

The procession, which would start at around 9.10pm, will pass Jalan Tun Syed Barakhbah, Light Street, Pitt Street, Farquhar Street, Penang Road, Burmah Road, Pangkor Road, Gurney Drive, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, Larut Road, Anson Road, Logan Road, Perak Road, Barrack Road and finally to Babington Avenue.

Got this article through a email I received from Penang Tourism Department.

See you all there!