BUTTERWORTH: Jalan Raja Uda here is being decorated with 10,000 red-silk lanterns to usher in the Year of the Rabbit and adds merriment to the festivity, said Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce president Datuk Seri Hong Yeam Wah.
Hong said that the lanterns, all from China, cost about RM350,000 and had been lit up since Jan 8 to welcome the Chinese New Year which falls this Jan 22.
The lanterns will light up the street until the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, he said, adding that state government, elected representatives in the state and Tah Wah Group contributed to bear the cost of the lanterns.
“The lanterns were put up along the four-kilometre stretch of the road, from the south junction of Jalan Telaga Air to the entire Jalan Raja Uda, where plenty of eateries are located.
“The main intention of decorating the streets with the lanterns is to boost the spirit of the Chinese New Year among the people here,” he told Bernama during an interview recently.
Hong, who is Tah Wah group managing director, said it had been the tradition of the Butterworth community since 2009, with only 5,000 lanterns then, to decorate the streets for the Chinese New Year celebration.
He said in 2015, Jalan Raja Uda made it into the Malaysian Book of Records for having 10,000 lanterns along the 3.5km road.
“We have been doing this tradition annually until two years ago due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately this year, everything is back to normal and we are glad to be able to bring this street back to life for this festive season,” he said.
Hong said it would also help to boost the business of traders at the night market at the Tow Boo Keong Temple.
“There are more than 200 stalls selling dessert, traditional cookies, outfits dan decorative items at the night market which are open daily from 7pm to 10pm,” he said.
Meanwhile, a trader at the night market, Lim Chin Tat, 23, said that the lighting up of the 10,000 lanterns were an attraction to draw the crowd to the area.
“During weekends, many people come to look at the beautiful lanterns and drop by my stall to buy decorative items for their house.
“I am thankful for the effort done by the authorities in helping to boost our business,” he said. – Bernama