Witnessing The Celebration of Hokkien New Year in Penang

This year, I had a chance to follow my mate to come back to Penang to witness how his family celebrate the Birthday of Jade Emperor which also know as a New Year Celebration for Hokkien people. You may read here for more info about the history of Jade Emperor's Birthday celebration

We were lucky that day, my boss is actually on a long leave and I managed to escape early from office and depart to Penang from Kuala Lumpur around 3.00pm. After 5 hours driving, we arrived to my mate's family house at Lim Jetty, Georgetown. From explanation, the most happening event during the celebration will be at Chew Jetty which is located next to Lim Jetty. If you have no idea about the jetties, you may read here for a better understanding (technically).

When we arrived, the mother busy in kitchen get busy preparing the dishes for prayer later midnight as well as some aunties were busy flipping papers for worshiping and prayer activities tonight. It was really a beautiful view and all family members get together, talking and laughing while making the preparation. 

While waiting for prayer time, says about 11.00pm, me and my mate take a chance to walk to Chew Jetty and see what is happening there. The street is getting more crowded with people and cars. There are food vendors selling delicious foods with sea of Chinese people and tourist eyeing here and there. At the front yard of Chew Jetty was built with a performance stage and loud music was played continuously with stage shows. Well, its a New Year celebration right? Of course it is really noisy and crowded.

At the main road of Weld Quay (of the clan jetties) was built with a long table which people will display their worshiping items later tonight there. There are really lots of things such as suckling pig, turtle cakes, fruits and many other stuffs which come with own significant. 

Since I am very tired from 5 hours driving, we decided to go home and take a short rest while waiting for the prayer time. At around 10.00pm, the uncle and cousin start to get busy to arrange a worshiping table at front door with sugar cane was tight on the left and right side of the table. Then, all those items such as suckling pig, pig cake, turtle cake, fruits, roasted chicken and other stuffs also displayed on the table and the prayer began when everything is ready. From what I saw, the father will start the prayer   and continued by siblings and younger people.

Around 11.00pm till 12.00pm, people will start to burn the firework and trust me, it is so big, so loud and so near... and me so "afraid" of it. There are many jetties at the area and the firework sound was like will never stop.

There should another agenda which I can say the peak of the new year celebration which is burning the paper for the ancestors. I am so sleepy at that time and had excuse myself from joining the activity. Luckily my mate took the camera and snapped those photos for me.

It was truly a unique experience witnessing how Hokkien people celebrating this big occasion and now I understand why my mate insisted to come back to Penang earlier.  


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