JOHOR BARU, Feb 11 — After a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19, the Chingay Parade Festival returned with a grand celebration which saw a crowd of over 300,000 thronging along Jalan Wong Ah Fook and around the city here, tonight.
Visitors including foreign tourists began lining up along the road as early as 5pm to watch the parade which commenced at about 7pm.
The procession of over 80 decorated vehicles which covered a distance of about 7.8 kilometres, began at the Xing Gong Temple in Jalan Ulu Air Molek, passed through Jalan Yahya Awal, Jalan Ibrahim, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, Jalan Gereja, Jalan Ngee Heng, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, finally ended back at Xing Gong Temple, here.
A visitor from Kuala Lumpur, Yang Chun Hou, 29 said he was thrilled to watch the parade as this was his first time at the festival.
“I didn’t expect so many people to be here. For two years the festival was given a miss because of Covid-19, so of course this year it must be held on a grand scale,” said Yang when met here today.
Meanwhile, Hezrina Hedzer, 53, said the last time she attended the parade festival was in 2020 but it was a small celebration.
“This year the crowd is so much bigger and the air is full of festivity with the participation of people of various races and nationalities,” said the housewife.
Tourists from Romania, Greg Danciu, 35, and his partner, Ioana Cristodorescu, 23, who are on a two-day holiday in the state said this was a new experience for them as they never knew such a festival existed.
“We are glad to be able to witness the cultural diversity here because this is our first time visiting Malaysia,” said Danciu.
Earlier, the Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar arrived to officiate 2023 Chingay Parade festival by beating the drums on the main stage.
Also present were Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Liew Chin Tong and State Tourism, Environment, Heritage and Culture Committee chairman K.Raven Kumar.
The festival is significant to the Chinese community as it reflects the strong community spirit between the five dialect groups namely Teochew, Hokkien, Hakka, Guangsiew and Hainan.
The last time the festival was held was in 2020 and it was organised on a small scale with only five decorated vehicles in the procession, to curb the spread of Covid-19. — Bernama