It’s been a while that we don’t write a new post on this blog. And I can’t lie… coming back from all these months of freedom, no responsibilities and great joy was harder than I was expecting. So in a way it was a difficult to go back to pictures and write about these moments.
But time has passed and after knowing that Chinese New Year is coming, a lot of sweet memories came back to my mind.
We spent last year´s celebration in Penang, the first place we visited in Malaysia. Although we didn’t plan much ahead for our trip around Asia, this was one of the things in our “must do list”. Before going to Asia I found that Penang hold one of the best celebrations and that ended up to be very true.
One nice thing of Chinese New Year is that it lasts for days and there’s a very nice atmosphere and various celebrations during the time. We arrived in Penang on the 14th of February, which was already day 8 of celebrations. I read somewhere that the first days were more about family meetings, so we decided to go for the second half.
Hour hotel was close to Georgetown, the old city, and our first impression was that people was friendly and warm. The staff of our hotel was always smiling and talking and trying to help us. We were very tired when we arrived as we spent the whole day travelling by bus from Ko Lanta (Thailand) to there, it lasted forever (14 hours and 3 different buses). So we just went for some street food and then rest!
On the next day we went to visit Georgetown, full of old Chinese houses and also a very interesting mix of Chinese, Indian and Malaysian culture. There’s also a very cool vibe, with street art and nice shops.
On the evening we went to the Clan Jetties to spend our first experience of Chinese New Year: the celebrations of Hokkien families. The clan jetties are old Chinese houses built close to the water and are part of the Penang Heritage Trail. There were some concerts, big tables full of food and all houses were decorated for the celebration.
While taking photos of one of the nice traditional houses and being curious about how the Hokkien families were celebrating New Year, we were invited by this adorable family to go inside and celebrate the night with them. It was so unexpected and lovely! We were able to learn a lot about their culture and try some delicious food too.
At some point, the chief minister of Penang came to the house and sat in our table with the matron of the family, followed by several journalists. One of them took a picture from us. Still wondering if this photo appeared somewhere!
Before heading home we watched the fireworks. It was our second night and I was already in love with Penang.
The next days we spent visiting different places, trying delicious and varied food, and walking a lot around the city. We were also able to go to the cinema for the first time in months, because the movie would be in English! We watched the Revenant, not much talk, so the language didn’t make a big difference.
The next big celebration we have been to was the 22nd February, the 15th night of New Year. This is also known as the Chinese Valentine’s Day. The single people would take an orange; write their phone number and trough it to the water. It could be caught by their future love haha but reality is that there was a boat taking it all from the sea. I’m wondering if the boat men were single, they would have plenty of choice with all of these oranges then.
There were also concerts on the Esplanade, which is a very big square, with a mix of Chinese and Malaysian attractions and also the Dragon dance.
These guys were really good! But for me the best part of the night was the fireworks show. It was beautiful and so full of colors and the perfect end for the days we spent there. This was our last night in Penang and we left thinking that we would need to come back.