BUTTERWORTH: Red lanterns have been raised at a major artery in the heart of Seberang Prai town. All 10,000 of them.

They have been put up along Jalan Raja Uda, which is a busy stretch where plenty of eateries are located, giving the area much buzz for Chinese New Year.

“Putting up red lanterns here has been a tradition for the Butterworth community since 2008. Back then, it began with only 5,000 lanterns,” said Penang welfare and environment committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.

The tradition of hanging up red lanterns began during China’s Qing Dynasty in the 1600s as it symbolises joy and fortune.

Phee hoped that the lanterns could be a tourist attraction too.

“From the south of the junction of Jalan Telaga Air, Jalan Siram and Jalan Permatang Pauh until the north of the junction of the Butterworth Outer Ring Road and Jalan Raja Uda, the whole stretch is adorned with lanterns.

“They will be lit up from Jan 8 until the 15th day of the Chinese New Year,” he said.

He said several cultural performances have been lined up for the Lunar New Year.

They include a Chinese New Year open house at the Tow Boo Keong Temple on the fourth day of the celebration where contributions will be channelled to deserving students and senior citizens.

Phee said the tradition of tossing yee sang will also continue this year on the seventh day of the Chinese New Year, while the celebration of the Heavenly Jade Emperor’s birthday will be held the following day at the site of the temple.

As for the night market at the Tow Boo Keong Temple, Phee said traders at the popular night market have been told to conduct their business in an organised manner.