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2016 CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS ON PENANG8th - 9th FEB – FIRST TWO DAYS OF CNY
2016 is the year of the Monkey. On the first day family and friends will visit one another and give Ang Pows (red packets with money in them). Lion dances are performed to welcome auspiciousness into the household and drive out evil spirits. Penang’s Chief Minister usually organizes a Chinese New Year Open House on the first day at 10am at sPICE and invites the public to join in the celebration.
Expect Chinese shops and food stalls to be closed on both days but the Indian, Malay, Japanese, Thai and western shops and food stalls will still be open.
The Malls will be open. Any shops that wish to close in the Malls will notify the information desk by the 7th.
9th - 10th FEB – HOT AIR BALLOON FIESTA
At Padang Polo from 7am.
Last year was something of a disappointment as the balloons can only rise very early in the morning. Get there by 6.30am if you want to see them.
13th FEB – FESTIVAL OF CHENG CHOOI CHOR SOO KONG AT THE SNAKE TEMPLE
This is the birthday of the Deity of Hock Hin Keong (popularly known as the Snake Temple). Expect lots of things to be going on all day and evening with plenty of food stalls.
13th FEB – PENANGITE’S CNY CELEBRATIONS
There will be various activities and performances in closed streets around the heritage areas of George Town. Mainly the Esplanade, Light Street, Penang Street, Church Street, Bishop Street and Beach Street. Expect to see traditional arts and crafts, performances such as Lion Dancing on Stilts, food and more. 4pm – midnight.
15th FEB –HOKKIEN NEW YEAR
Also known as the Jade Emperor's birthday or the Pai Ti Kong Festival. The 9th day of Chinese New Year is celebrated on a grand scale by the Hokkien Clan to commemorate their forefathers’ escape in ancient China. At the stroke of midnight, prayers are performed with offerings of food, fruits, liquor and sugarcane stalks to the Jade Emperor God. See it at the Chew Jetty from 8early evening onwards.
19 - 20 Feb - INTERNATIONAL CHINESE KUNG FU FESTIVAL
This will be the very first International Chinese Kung Fu Festival to be held on Penang. It is reported to be being held at Han Chiang High School Hall and The Banquet @ Komtar.
22nd FEB – CHAP GOH MEH
Celebrated on the 15th night of the Lunar New Year, it is also known as the Chinese Valentine's Day. Traditionally young ladies of marrying age went down to the sea to throw oranges with their names written on them in the hope of finding a husband. Today they write mobile phone numbers instead! See it at the Esplanade and Straits Quay and take part. Both will have street food as well as games, performances and fireworks.
28 FEB – HAKKA’S CULTURE FEST
Held over in Balik Pulau in the evening, it is a one of its kind in Penang featuring the tradition of the Hakkas. Last year it was from 9am – 5pm.
KEK LOK SI will be lit up at night from the 7th - 22nd February from 7pm to about midnight - a truly spectacular sight with more than 10,000 lights.
Most years it stays open until midnight during the first week, then reduces its hours until 10pm. During the last few days the lights on the Kuan Yin statue may be turned off and you may not be able to access it.
George Town will be filled with red Chinese lanterns in the heritage area, lit up at night.
The popular Chinese restaurants will be fully booked over the first week by families of 10 or 12 out celebrating.
Some of the above events will also take place at Karpal Singh Drive (an unmarked road popularly known as IJM Promenade if you have an old map) but it is more difficult to get to than The Esplanade and Straits Quay for visitors.
Hope this helps, but do keep an eye on the events tab on mypenang.gov. my for more up to date information and for telephone and email addresses to check events before setting out.