George Town Heritage Celebrations: Spend this weekend in Penang!

GEORGE TOWN, July 7 — To prepare myself for the George Town Heritage Celebrations 2017 this weekend, I am going on a digital fast. 

Yes, my posts on Instagram are going to be latergrams so I can focus on the many activities within these three days.

As the activities are mostly outdoors, I am going to be dressed for the heat and of course comfy shoes will be the most essential. Plus sunblock. 

There are about six site excursions around George Town’s heritage sites and this year’s theme is “Walk the Talk: Oral Traditions and Expressions.”

Way before the printed word, various communities worldwide used many forms of oral traditions and expressions to pass on knowledge, cultural and social values, as well as collective memories. 

These traditions encompass an enormous variety of spoken forms, including proverbs, riddles, nursery rhymes, myths, epics (whether in poetry or song), charms, prayers, dramatic performances and folk tales. 

The organiser, George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI), hopes to inspire more people to preserve these traditions through its continued practice. 

George Town Heritage Celebrations 2017 will share stories, life experiences and oral traditions from 13 communities.

The first outdoor excursion, The Walky Talky George Town, will take us around Chowrasta Market, Campbell Street and Penang Bazaar (the golden triangle of George Town). 

Traditional traders within that area will be introduced to the participants and of course you will find out how these businesses were passed down through the generations. 

Now if you plan to side track, I reckon you should try the famous Ais Tingkap (3rd generation manning the stall) stall just located beside the Chowrasta market and have a plate of Pasembur to regain some walking energy. 

A little tip for those who are keen to participate in this activity, you will have to register online with a RM30 fee to secure a place. There are two sessions for this excursion, 9am-11am will be the Mandarin and 10am-12pm will be in English. 

Then take your lunch and continue on with the next historical trail at St George’s Church at 2.30pm to 4pm. This church is a 19th century Anglican Church located at Farquhar Street and within the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Looking at the itinerary of events for the next day, please have an early night and be ready for a full day of activities! 

As most of the events are taking place within Unesco World Heritage Site, it might be best to book your hotel within that area. 

The day starts off with the Waada Gurdwara Sahib excursion; now this community was founded in 1901 and is the biggest in SEA and the gurdwara was one of the most important meeting points for Sikhs in Malaya (then). 

Then you will move on to Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling to discover What to do? What not to? And why? at the worship places and understand the customs of six places of worship in the area. 

Representatives from Kapitan Keling Mosque, Kong Hock Keong Kuan Im Teng (Goddess Kuan Yin temple that has been there for 100 years!), St. Georges’ Church, Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Lebuh Acheh Malay Mosque and Gurdwara Temple will be holding open houses at the designated time and date, to introduce their traditions to visitors. 

All this will take place from 2pm to 6pm and then on to the Street Festival! 

This is what I have been waiting for; be prepared to Read, Sing, Speak, Write! The highlight of the celebrations will feature community-initiated workshops, performances and cultural shows during the Street Festival. 

Participants may experience reading the community sayings and proverbs, singing folk songs and nursery rhymes, speaking to the communities about their stories and memories and writing their own names in various languages like Gujarati, Jawi, Malayalam, Mandarin, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and more. 

The location for the Street Festival will be at Lebuh Acheh, Armenian, Cannon, Ah Quee, Buckingham Lorong Lumut, Jalan Kampung Kolam, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling and Lorong Pitt. 

The grand finale will be the Interactive Heritage Game: The Forgotten Memoirs. Taking place at 830am till 1230pm, it will be a very fun way to re-discover the often overlooked hidden features and architectural details in George Town; learn about the secrets and stories of the city.

Form a team with your friends and families to experience the charming George Town World Heritage Site on a lovely Sunday morning. 

Unlike Amazing Race, this game enables you to stroll, explore or take the free CAT bus while completing your mission. By the end of the game, you will be able to create new memories of George Town.

As part of the organiser’s efforts to promote inclusiveness and accessibility, the exact route will be made available to wheelchair users, visually and hearing impaired visitors on July 14, from 3pm to 5pm. However, this is strictly by invitation only.

I highly recommend using my ultimate travel app Traveloka to prepare for the weekend as there will be promocodes for airfares and hotel bookings and thanks to Grab and Uber, moving around Penang Island will be hassle free! 

* For more information about events, visit here.