KUCHING: Hundreds of red lanterns and lights have been put up along the Padungan stretch as well as markets under the jurisdiction of Kuching City South Council (MBKS) ahead of the Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration.
When night falls, these areas come alive in radiant splendour, creating an ambience synonymous to the festive mood.
According to legend, in ancient China, lanterns put up during the CNY period are said to be lucky charms to chase away the Nian monster, a fierce beast with sharp teeth and horns that would attack villages every lunar New Year, devouring both animals and people.
Today, these lanterns come in many shapes and sizes and are used for decorations and the bright red colour symbolises good fortune.
Often, round lanterns would be used during CNY and its circular shape symbolises togetherness and is reminiscent of the full moon.
Something new along the Padungan Street this year are bigger sized lanterns which are being put up by MBKS.
Mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng said that the larger lanterns would help brighten up the alleyways along Padungan.
“This year, we are trying to do something new by putting up bigger lanterns because as you can see, the streets are a bit dark and so with these lanterns there will be more light,” he said.
“Even though we are now still in the midst of Covid-19, we try to create a CNY festive ambience so that the people can at least feel the festive season even though we cannot have a big-scale celebration,” he said.
On Monday (Jan 24) evening Wee together with Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian had switched on CNY lights at the famous white cat statue in Padungan and MBKS’s respective markets namely, Stutong Community Market, Petanak Central Market and Kenyalang Park Market.
Dr Sim said that it had been MBKS’s tradition to decorate the streets and markets with lights to create the CNY atmosphere.
“Thanks and congratulations to MBKS for continuing the tradition, sharing the joy and the love with the people of Kuching and this is something we are proud of,” he said.
He added that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, there was no reason not to create a festive atmosphere.
“But of course, we still need to be careful in view of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
“More importantly, during this festive period where a lot of people will be coming back from outside the state, I urge all to be extra cautious and not bring Omicron back to Sarawak and their immediate family,” said Dr Sim.