While half of the Penang population was at Fort Cornwallis for the state-level Chap Goh Meh Celebration, yours truly was at Evergreen Laurel Hotel in George Town to witness a similar Lantern Festival celebration organised by the Penang Peranakan community.
Although I am no stranger to Babas and Nyonyas, coming from Perak, I am still fascinated by them; by their dressing, cross culture, dialect and general way of life. It’s not like I get to meet this community often and even if I do come across one or two in Ipoh, they are usually from Malacca, and they are unlike those from Penang.
Grabbing the opportunity to see how Lantern Festival is observed by the Penang Babas and Nyonyas, I was greeted by ladies dressed resplendently in colourful, sequined sarong kebaya and matching dainty kasut manik. The gentlemen wore silky batik shirts.
The audience at Evergreen Laurel Hotel was very responsive to the song and dance presentation by the Peranakan performers; singing along and clapping to the beat of the music.
I was later informed that this Dondang Sayang cultural dance and music event to mark Chap Goh Meh (the 15th and final day of the Lunar New Year Festival) is an annual affair.
Every year, the troupe would kick off their tour at the Esplanade, then move to Straits Quay, Gurney Drive and finally, Evergreen Laurel Hotel. The theme this year was “Music Under the Moon”.
The hour-long cultural presentation wrapped up with the opening of the floor for guests to joget the night away.
Event: Penang Baba Nyonya Dondang Sayang Chap Goh Meh Celebration
Venue: Evergreen Laurel Hotel
Add: Persiaran Gurney, George Town, Penang.
Date: 11th Feb, 2017
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