HUNDREDS of devotees from the Telugu community celebrated the Ugadi (Telugu New Year) with religious fervour and merriment at Sri Ramar Temple in Taman Dhoby Ghaut in George Town this evening.
It is understood that according to the community’s calendar, a unique name is specified for each year when the Ugadi is celebrated. The new year in 2023 is called ‘Sobhakruthu’.
Devotees dressed in their traditional finest, offering prayers at the temple to invoke blessings for a bountiful new year.
They were greeted by a beautifully-drawn kolam, thoranam (hanging decorations) and banana trees at the entrance of the temple.
Various cultural performances also enliven the atmosphere.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who was present, said the Telugu community in Penang has a long and proud history.
“The community takes great pride in honouring and preserving its cultural heritage.
“Our culture is our identity, and it is what makes us unique.
“Today’s celebration is an asset to our tourism industry and cultural development.
“All these give us the impetus to ‘LovePENANG’ more,” Chow said in his speech.
Also present were state Local Government, Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo, Jelutong MP R.S.N. Rayer, George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) general manager Dr Ang Ming Chee, Telugu Association of Malaysia (TAM) deputy president Sri Sathiah Sudakaran and TAM Penang branch chairman P. Rama Raoo.
Chow said the Penang government is proud and happy to witness the rich Ugadi celebration which was aimed at exposing Penangites to the Telugu community’s culture and tradition.
“The celebration is a golden opportunity for visitors and locals to witness the tradition and culture of our Telugu community.
“I strongly believe that it is our shared responsibility to preserve and conserve living heritage such as the Ugadi celebration.
“This is crucial for our future generation to appreciate the uniqueness of cultural events and multiculturalism in Penang.
“This event is an opportunity for us to learn from each other and cherish diversity,” he said.
Chow said the state would continue to support the arts and culture in Penang.
“I congratulate the organiser, performers and participants who have made this celebration a success,” he said.
Chow also announced an allocation of RM10,000 to TAM Penang branch.
Jagdeep and Rayer also announced an allocation of RM10,000 and RM5,000 respectively to the association.
Story by Riadz Akmal
Pix by Alissala Thian
Video by Muhamad Amir Irsyad Omar