Following the announcement by Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak at the 2012 Chinese New Year Open House in Sitiawan, Perak recently, Chingay is now declared a Malaysian National Heritage.
The announcement gratified people from both Penang and Johor as the Chingay Parade is celebrated in both states and is a massive tourist attraction roping in over 300,000 local and foreign tourist each year.
However, the Chingay Parade in both states are celebrated differently. The celebration in Johor takes place during CNY for a period of three days including a famous 8-kilometer procession with 5 deities from the Ancient Temple in Johor. Johor Chingay Parade started ever since the building of the Johor Ancient Temple in 1870
The parade in Penang which started in 1919 is a year-end celebration with a unique difference highlighting Chingay performers who balance 40 feet long giant flags and perform spectacular acrobatic acts.
Over the years, the local Chinese have been improvising the chingay performance.
Bountiful audience, decorated floats, dragon and lion dances, cultural dances and Chinese Opera shows are the marked similarities between the celebration in the two states.
According to Ku Liang Tong, manager of Johor Bahru Tiong-Hua Association, the organizing committee of the Johor Ancient Temple Chingay had been applying for the status at Jabatan Warisan Negara ( National Heritage Department ) since 2009.
The news of this declaration has brought untold excitement to the people of Johor.
“We are proud that Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib will attend the Johor Bahru Chingay this year, and we are prepared to greet the Johor Sultan, Sultan Ibrahim who has shown keen interest in attending this year’s Chingay.