SINGAPORE – Participants at this year’s virtual Ho Yeah Festival can engage in multiple aspects of Cantonese culture, such as wedding customs, language and food.
The festival, which is in its second edition, aims to promote aspects of Cantonese and Hakka culture that are lesser-known here.
It begins on Saturday (Dec 4) and will run till Dec 18, with live programmes streamed online on three Saturdays, and on-demand programmes and replays available on a virtual portal.
Bishan Youth Network chairman Grace Tang, 30, who was also involved in the festival’s first edition in 2018, said that similar programmes promoting Hokkien and Teochew culture were available then, but not for Cantonese and Hakka culture.
The festival’s name, “Ho Yeah”, is a Cantonese expression that means “good stuff”, said festival director Lynn Wong.
The 33-year-old added that the expression is commonly used by the Cantonese and Hakka community here.
The festival aims to highlight not just the communities as a whole, but also their subcultures, she said.
To that end, this year’s edition of the festival focuses on the Toishanese – one of the earliest Cantonese communities present in Singapore – and their culture.
They trace their roots to Taishan, a city in China’s Guangdong province.
The festival is jointly organised by Toishanese clan association Ning Yeung Wui Kuan – the oldest locality clan here dating back to 1822 – as well as Bishan Community Club and Bishan Youth Network.
Participants can also get a taste of Cantonese cuisine prepared specially for the festival.
Cantonese pastry shop Tong Heng has put together a set of five goodies to accompany a programme on Cantonese wedding customs. Coconut meringue is one of its two traditional pastries with a twist.
Another programme showcases how older members of the Toishanese community worked with Granny’s Secret restaurant to create dishes for sale in conjunction with the festival.
Those hoping to brush up on their spoken Cantonese can also participate in hour-long language crash courses.
Programmes are conducted in English, Mandarin and Cantonese, and members of the public can sign up for the festival at its website and find out more from its Facebook page.
Some workshops, held virtually, have entry fees of up to $10 to cover material costs, and will come with a tea blend created for the festival.