Chingay Festival celebrated on a grand scale in Johor

JOHOR BARU: The Chingay Festival has returned with spectacular fanfare here, attracting local and international visitors.

Some were also seen waiting eagerly along Jalan Wong Ah Fook since 5pm Saturday (Feb 11) to witness the Chingay procession where the five deities of the five main dialect clans – Hokkien, Cantonese, Hainan, Hakka and Teochew – were brought on a “tour” to bless the city and its people.

This was the first time the festival was celebrated on a grand scale after three years of muted celebrations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The festival was launched by Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, who arrived at the main stage set up in front of the JBCC mall, at about 8.35pm to loud cheers.

Also present were Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, Johor state secretary Tan Sri Dr Azmi Rohani, International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Liew Chin Tong, state tourism, environment and culture committee chairman K. Raven Kumar, state health and unity committee chairman Ling Tian Soon, state investment, trade and consumer affairs committee chairman Lee Ting Han and state youth, sports, entrepreneur development, cooperatives and human resources committee chairman Mohd Hairi Mad Shah.

The sea of people was treated to a variety of traditional performances, including lion and dragon dances and the iconic 24 Festive Drums performance.

Chants of “Heng Ah!” (prosperity) “Huat Ah!” (good fortune) filled the air throughout the procession, especially when deities carried on palanquins passed by the stage.

Dozens of dazzling floats could also be seen adding colour to the Chingay procession.

The Chinese community in Johor celebrates the century-old Chingay festival from the 19th to the 22nd day of the Lunar New Year (Feb 9 to 12).