Night Parade, Chingay JB, 17th Feb 2017

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Welcome to the Year of the Rooster! The animal motifs in the Chingay Night Parade reflect the Chinese Zodiac animal of the Chinese lunar year, but there are still plenty of dragons and lions to be seen! Today was the 21st day of the Chinese New Year when an event unique to Johor Bahru takes place. Both Penang and Singapore hold Chingay Parades, but theirs are of a more commercial/tourism nature. In contrast, Chingay JB remains seriously devotional.

I joined the parade just after 7 pm and stayed for a couple of hours. The parade floats frequently came to a long standstill, but the devotees continued at a fast pace walking either side of the floats. Trying to walk in the opposite direction to find the deities proved too troublesome in the end, so I turned around and walked the same direction as the tens of thousands of participants. People seemed happy to have their photographs taken, and I apologise here for the later blurred photos as the light went. I was given sweets by the participants, and was even interviewed for a newspaper. The Night Parade is a busy and noisy affair, so I have added some short videos to try and show this to you.

The noticeable thing about this Night Parade is that everyone seems to be having fun! But, at the same time, whenever one of the deities approaches, everyone stops and yells “Heng ah!” or “Huat ah!”, depending on their origins. They are yelling for good luck and blessings from the Gods. There are five clan associations here: Teochow, Hokkien, Hainanese, Hakka and Cantonese, and they can be identified by their different coloured t-shirts.

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Here are some assorted photos of lions, dragons, and characters I do not know quite how to describe!

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And now for some photos of the parade in general:

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This is a photo of one of the deities being violently rocked on its sedan chair. This is when a roar goes up and everyone gets quite excited!

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Now listen out for the roar in the next video.

And here is a photo of a dragon on the move! These dragons really are so energetic and a great spectacle to watch.

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I think the route of the Night Parade is 9 km, so participants have plenty of food stalls along the way to help keep up their energy and hydration levels.

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Finally, a short video to complete my report and to remind you of the full colour and noise of this must-see event.

If you are interesting in more of the background to this event, please click here to link through to a Wikipedia page on this topic. And please check out my report of the previous day’s events, referred to as the Prelude Day Parade when the deities get their first day out of the new year!

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© Helen Gray 2021