Kuala Lumpur, 14th February 2013 ; Although it is Valentine’s Day it is also the 5th Day of the Chinese Lunar New Year of the water snake.
To mark the festival Kuala Lumpur City Hall, through its Tourism Unit, working in collaboration with KL City Gallery and MITA (Malaysia Inbound Tourists Association); organized a Chinese New Year Cultural Festival at the Dataran Merdeka.
Attended mostly by tourist, the festival was a whole day affair that was packed with Chinese cultural activities and a variety of goodies reflecting the season’s celebrations. In the true spirit of multi-cultural, the festival showcased to our foreign guests this Chinese celebration that has become part of the Malaysian cultural scene.
The highlight of the festival was the traditional tossing of the Yee Sang, a practice that is unique to this region of the world. Yee Sang is a fish salad dish that is usually eaten as a starter during the reunion dinner on the eve of the New Year, although the practice can also be done at any celebration meal throughout the 15 days of the New Year till Chap Goh Mei.
The significance of “tossing” the Yee Sang together as a symbol pf ‘abundance and prosperity for the year to come’ was explained to tourists taking part in the tossing.
What made the activity particularly special was that the tourists had the priviledge of tossing the 210 feet long Yee Sang with the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib. The 210 feet long Yee Sang was sponsored by the Federal Hotel International, Kenanga Wholesale City and KL Bird Park.
Besides the Yee Sang delicacies to savour and the traditional dragon and lion dances, Malaysia multicultural dance performances and a 24 festive drum performance ensured the Chinese New Year Cultural event was complete.
Adding to the festival atmosphere , there were also Chinese fortune tellers, an appearance by the Chinese ‘God of Wealth”, acrobatic stilt walkers, Chinese diabolo performance sponsored by KL Hop On Hop Off and a Chinese Opera performance. To celebrate the New Year of the snake, there were even ‘Snakes & Ladders’ games organized with some prizes contributed by KL Pavilion.
In his address, the Mayor said that the festival was to showcase to foreign visitors the variety of cultures that make Kuala Lumpur such an interesting, exciting and colourful city to visit.
“We have many festival throughtout the year and, as a truly multi cultural society, all Malaysians have learnt to join in the celebrations of all the races in the country. And by organizing this festival, we hope all tourists will be able to learn, see, experience and enjoy the showcase of Chinese culture in KL”, said the Mayor.
“And the beauty part of this festival is the sponsorship and contributions by those involved in the tourism industry in KL. They came forward to KL City Hall and contribute in many ways, to stage this wonderful festival.
We actually match the festival cost based on 50% cost by KL City Hall and 50% through collective sponsorships by KL City Gallery, MITA, the Federal International Hotels, Kenanga Wholesale City, KL Birdpark, KL Hop On Hop Off, Restoran Warisan and KL Pavilion. And of course in future more festivals can be staged in KL, if we get good financial or in kind support by the private sector,” he added when commenting on support and involvements by private sector and NGO to make KL – a truly festival city