Visitors to the popular Jonker Walk can now add another Instagram-worthy stop at the country’s biggest Peranakan lanterns sponsored by Himalaya Sports candy. The giant lanterns boast a beautiful design which depicts the historic and legendary voyage by Admiral Zheng He to Malacca for diplomatic and trade purposes at the behest of the Ming dynasty emperor in the early 15th century, which would later develop into strong ties between the two kingdoms and led to our Peranakan culture.
Standing tall at 12-feet high and 8-feet wide, the pair of lanterns is acknowledged by the Malaysia Book of Records as the “Biggest Peranakan Lantern” and the sugar confectionary company was awarded the recognition at the official launch of the lanterns recently, which was witnessed by the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dato Sri Tiong King Sing, and Melaka Jonker Walk Committee Chairman, Datuk Wira Gan Tian Loo.
Set to be on display at the Jonker Walk Committee office until 30 June 2023, the lanterns were unveiled ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations to illuminate Jonker Walk which will be bustling with locals visiting Chinatown as they prepare for the festivities as well as local and international tourists taking advantage to soak in the vibrant atmosphere during the holiday.
The launch of the magnificent lanterns is part of Himalaya Sports branding initiative at this top tourist destination where it is also the official sponsor for the Walk’s entrance arches and 800 auspicious red lanterns dotting the skies at the historic Chinatown area.
Datuk Kenny Low, the founder and managing director of Nicko Jeep Manufacture Sdn. Bhd. which owns Himalaya Sports said, “It is a great opportunity for Himalaya Sports to return as a sponsor for the third year at Jonker Walk and this time with travel restrictions lifted, we wanted to mark the occasion with something extra special and memorable. The record-setting Peranakan lantern and its intricate design pays tribute to the tradition of Chinese lanterns, Melaka’s history with China, as well as the beginnings of the Baba Nyonya culture that form a unique part of Malaysia’s rich multicultural heritage today.”
Adding to the Chinese New Year cheer is Himalaya Sports ‘SPOT, SNAP & WIN’ contest. From now until 28th February, visitors can study the pair of Peranakan lanterns to spot the number of Himalaya Sports candy packs hidden within the intricate designs and win cash prizes worth RM19,888 for an auspicious start to the Year of the Rabbit.
Low added, “Through our partnership with the Jonker Walk Committee, we hope to play a small part in supporting our tourism industry to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic period. The Biggest Peranakan Lantern will be a new attraction to draw domestic and international tourists to Jonker Walk this year in addition to perennial favourites such as its weekend night market, antique shops and diving into the Baba Nyonya culture.”
A unique blend of Chinese and Malay customs, the Peranakan culture is evident in their language, dressing, cuisine, as well as the traditional art of lantern-making – a craft believed to be brought by the Chinese Admiral Zheng He’s skilled crew members to the Malay Peninsula during his voyage.
Traditionally made from bamboo which symbolizes strength and virtue, the lanterns are hung at the entrance of homes during joyful occasions and days of ancestral prayers by the Peranakan Chinese. It is also called surname lantern because the family name and clan are prominently painted on them in addition to vibrant drawings symbolizing aspects of Chinese culture, and is often passed down through generations.