It’s again time to celebrate the grandest and most anticipated festival in Johor Bahru! The annual celebration of the Chingay Festival marks the end of the Chinese New Year and is celebrated by almost 50,000 people all in one place together! It is even the most colorful, most exciting, and liveliest festival, but it is celebrated as a way of asking for the blessings and a prosperous year from the deities. The series of activities for the Chingay Festival 2020 is already laid out, let us learn more about it!
Johor Chingay Street Parade, annually celebrated by people of Johor Bahru
As always, there will be a series of activities for five days for the ancient temple tour in 2020. Those will be the following: the lighting ceremony, street cleansing and mounting of the Gods on sedans, coming out of the Gods, God’s night tour, and the return of the Gods. These will be held on different days and times of the day. Let us learn the details of each of them!
Date: February 11, 2020 (Tuesday) 18th Day of the Lunar New Year
Time: 7:00 pm
Venue: Yixing Road Palace Point
Viewpoint: To officially mark the beginning of the celebration, there is an opening ceremony called Lighting Ceremony held on the evening of the 18th day on the Lunar calendar. Traditional performances, firecrackers, and fireworks are everywhere! Every year, the lighting ceremony is becoming more and more exciting than in the past years.
Street Cleansing Ceremony and Mounting of Deities on Sedans
Date: February 12, 2020 (Wednesday) 19th Day of the Lunar New Year
Location: Main streets of Johor Bahru
Look: The streets which are included in the route for the deities’ tour are symbolically cleansed in a washing ceremony by devotees. They are accompanied by loud music from gongs, cymbals, and drums, which is intended to ward off evil spirits. Also, it is believed that it will rain on the cleansing ceremony and that will properly clean the streets. Once the cleansing ceremony is done, then it is time to prepare the deities for their journey. They are carefully dressed and then mounted on their divine sedans, where they will be placed as they journey around the city.
Deities’ First Coming Out
Date: February 13, 2020 (Thursday) 20th Day of the Lunar New Year
Location: From the Johor Temple to the Yixing Road Palace
Look: After the preparation, the deities are then taken out of the temple for the people to see. The first out of the Gods are important to them and they make sure to get a glimpse or take a shot of this moment, that is why huge crowd is expected to gather here. The five deities are lined in order, prior to the parade proper.
God’s Night Tour
Date: February 14, 2020 (Friday) 21st Day of the Lunar New Year
Location: Around the entire city of Johor Bahru, approximately 8 kilometers
Starting Point: Minutes before 7:00 in the evening, there are lion and dragon dancers, giant dolls, giant floats, loud music, waving flags, and all the people who will join the most awaited highlight of the festival, the Chingay night parade. It is a tradition with a belief that deities are carried around the streets of Johor Bahru, and they will bless the whole city with luck, prosperity, and harmony. The sedan chairs of the deities are wildly rock every now and then, with a loud utterance of “heng-ah” and “huat-ah” for good luck! Once the deities pass by them, people clasp their hands and pray.
Return of the Gods
Date: February 15, 2020 (Saturday) 22nd Day of the Lunar New Year
Location: From the Yixing Road Palace back to the Johor Temple
Viewpoint: After the parade is over, the deities will now be brought back to the old temple by the devotees. Like their first coming out, the return of the gods are accompanied by loud music and cheering crowd. One by one, the deities are returned to the old temple and once all of them have returned properly, the celebration is officially over.
8 Major Rules to Remember During the Five Ceremonies
- Don’t shake the “God of Heaven” guarded by the Chaozhou Bagua Club. This god is the main god of the ancient temple of Johor, the main god of the town. Once it is shaken, the area where the temple is located cannot be used or will not be safe.
- Don’t stand on the bridge over which the gods are passing. This behavior is disrespectful to the gods. No one can stand in the way of the deities and the other gods (such as lion and dragon dancers, these are considered gods that belong to the light)
- Don’t treat the hall as a place where you can sell your products, especially if they are overpriced. This is very disrespectful to the gods. Also, remember not to buy from people who sell overpriced products just to wear extravagant clothing.
- Don’t wear clothes that are too sexy and too exposed. Avoid wearing clothes that are revealing. This behavior is disrespectful to the gods. Always wear decent attire, even if you are participating as one of the performers or the gods.
- Wear appropriate attire, if you do not belong to the team of the gods, avoid hindering their performance by confusing them with your clothing. It is more appropriate to just follow or watch the team of gods if you are not one of the performers.
- Never throw away your garbage on the road. You may bring your own empty bottles, empty boxes, plastic bags, paper towels and other garbage with you and carry them away. This is one way to protect the environment. A small move is enough to promote environmental protection. Everyone is responsible.
- Be careful of pickpockets and thieves. Always pay close attention to your belongings. Keep your bags in front of your body. Don’t leave the important items in the car. It is best that a woman is accompanied by a man to avoid encountering perverted people.
- Be mindful of where to park your vehicle. You would not want to cause traffic or have your car pulled or bumped. Please also pay more attention to the route of the parade to avoid parking there. Before leaving, you must pay more attention to the time limit for road closures, plan a replacement route, and avoid traffic jams.
Address and contact number of each hall:
Johor Bahru Hainan Association (Zhao Marshal)
38, Jln. Ibrahim, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Tel: 07-224 4687
Johor Bahru Clubhouse (Huaguang the Great)
24, Jln. Siu Nam, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Tel: 07-223 3682
Johor Bahru (Jintian the Great)
5, Jalan Jim Quee, 80300, Johor Bahru, Johor Malaysia
Tel: 07-224 3304
Johor Bahru Fortune Hall (Hongxian Emperor)
2D, Jalan Yahya Awal, JG Getak Merah, 80000, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Tel: 07-221 1688
Johor Bahru Hall, Johor Bahru
186b, Jalan Sri Pelangi, Taman Pelangi, 80400 Johor Bahru, Johor
Tel: 07-332 6425
Johor Bahru Club (Hongxian Emperor)
25-02,Jln Permas 10/5,Bandar Baru Permas Jaya,81750 Masai,Johor Bahru
Joonan Xing’an Hall (Hong Xian Emperor)
3D-1, Jalan Tebrau, 80250, Johor Bahru, Johor.
Tel:016-722 6819 (President)
012-738 0200 (General Services)