Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Culture / Events and Festivals

Chinese Malaysians tap into their cultural roots at temple fair

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-02-03 08:58
Share - WeChat

GEORGE TOWN, Malaysia — With the sound of gongs and drums, a golden-haired "lion" jumped on 2-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 Saturday evening, 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, the singing of Hakka songs, diabolo displays and 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.

According to Chow Kon Yeow, chief minister of Penang, 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 not canceled.

Nowadays, Penang Miaohui is not only a celebratory feast during Spring Festival, but also a platform to illuminate traditional Chinese culture.

In different ancestral halls, visitors can learn myriad cultural aspects and facets of the ancient culture. For example, in Ng See Kah Miew, or the ancestral temple of the Ng clan, which was built in 1897, they can learn about the architectural technique of mortise and tenon.

Through Lee Sih Chong Soo, or the clan association for those with the Chinese surname 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).

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 "god of war", through a related exhibition, and are educated on benevolence, brevity, and intelligence.

Leong Keng Fei, chairman of the Penang Chinese Clan Council, the organizer of the event, says that since the Penang Miaohui was held in 1999, it has always focused on promoting traditional cultures. Visitors are encouraged to visit the ancestral halls and temples to experience and learn about the cultural treasures left by past generations, and to find their own roots.

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 Chinese Malaysians. More than 200 years ago, many Chinese came here and made contributions to its economic and social development.

Nowadays, Chinese Malaysians still cherish and pass down traditional Chinese culture to future generations through the celebration of Chinese festivals like Spring Festival, which fell on Jan 22.

Zhou Youbin, Chinese consul general in Penang, says 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 all 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 support this constructive and mutually beneficial relationship between Malaysia and China."

Most Popular
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349