Bandar Seri Begawan - Hundreds of members from the Chinese community welcomed the Year of the Snake with raucous celebrations yesterday at the Chinese Temple in the capital where many offered prayers for a good year.
A big crowd waited since early in the morning, just to catch a glimpse of the lion dance performed by the Chung Hwa Middle School Lion Dance Troupe, Brunei Hokkien Association and Chinese Chamber of Commerce (CCC) troupes.
The lion dance was performed accompanied by music of drums, cymbals and gongs synchronising to the dance movements and actions.
Thrilled by the lion dance performance, members of the public at the ceremony constantly touched the lion as it is believed to bring good luck and fortune to their lives.
The lions also received `ang pow` - a red packet containing cash as a form of blessings.
Families and friends were seen burning paper money for their ancestors whilst others performed prayers and walked around with lit incense sticks to be placed in the altar for prayers.
Red candles and food offerings, mainly mandarin oranges and coconuts were also placed on the altar.
Tourists, shutterbugs and members of the public were present during the joyous festivities as they witnessed the lion dance performance and took shots to remember the colourful and exciting event.
In an interview with a tour guide, Uncle Lim, he said, "I am proud to bring tourists from United States, England, Australia and China to witness this festive celebration in Brunei."
Chua Thian Jin, Chairman of the Chinese Temple, was busy handling the event as he explained that even though every year the celebration is the same but the spirit of celebrating the new year is the most enjoyable in the Chinese community.
A tourist from United Kingdom, Dave Austen, said, "I didn't expect to see a festive celebration in the capital as this is my first time visiting Brunei and I had a wonderful experience, witnessing the dances with my family."
A freelance photographer, Ak Md Shukri bin Pg Jais, came from Temburong District to take shots of the celebration as he explained that it was the only opportunity to take photos of Chinese celebrations.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin