Joyous Year of the Dragon celebration nationwide

KUALA LUMPUR: The Chinese community nationwide today ushered in the Year of the Dragon, a symbol of strength, honour, success and good fortune.

The Lunar New Year celebrations are also welcomed by Malaysians of various ethnicities across the country as they take advantage of the long weekend holidays to spend quality time with their families.

Bernama checks in the capital city found that the Thean Hou Temple here has been packed with devotees since 7 am, offering prayers and seeking blessings before visiting other family members.

According to the Selangor and Federal Territory Hainan Association spokesperson, 5,000 devotees are expected to have visited the temple by this afternoon.

"Since last night, we have conducted several activities, such as a fireworks display where 10,000 people attended, locals and foreigners alike. We also decorated the temple with bright red and dragon lanterns to enhance the atmosphere.

"The Chinese community believe that the Year of the Dragon brings progress in their lives, so many devotees will come to offer their prayers and make wishes," he told Bernama today.

Like everywhere in the country, the Chinese in PENANG celebrated the auspicious day by visiting their families and friends.

Businessman Ben Ooi Chooi Beng, 42, a revert Muslim, celebrated the joyous occasion with his family, just as he did before he embraced Islam seven years ago.

"…it is a cultural celebration…not a religious one; my family also understands that.

"They order halal food from halal catering not only for us but also for friends of various ethnicities who visit us at our family home. This has been our tradition because we are friends with everyone regardless of religion or ethnicity," he said.

In JOHOR, Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi attended a gathering at Wisma Tionghua in Taman Sri Tebrau hosted by the Johor Bahru Tionghua Federation with over 300 guests from various races.

Speaking at the event, Onn Hafiz said the Year of the Dragon symbolises strength and the solid unity of the people in Johor, which contributes to the state's progress.

"The state government has devised various plans this year as we aim to achieve the mission of becoming an advanced state by 2030. I hope all races must be involved and play a role in helping us to achieve the goal," he said.

MELAKA saw the entry of over 40,000 vehicles per day into the state due to the Chinese New Year holidays.

State Health, Human Resources and Unity Committee chairman Ngwe Hee Sem said local and foreign visitors are taking advantage of the long weekend to visit tourist destinations in the state.

Devotees in SELANGOR thronged the Kuan Yin Temple in Klang to offer their prayers since yesterday.

Meanwhile, the overcast weather in TERENGGANU allowed devotees to pray comfortably at the Nan Ann Association Temple in Jalan Kemajuan, Kampung Pulau Kambing, while the Peranakan Chinese in KELANTAN packed Wat Prachachinaram in Tumpat.

Bernama checks in PUTRAJAYA, PERAK, NEGRI SEMBILAN, and PAHANG and found that people celebrated the day with their families at tourist destinations and shopping centres. -- Bernama

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