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The other night we had one of those impromptu cultural experiences that make travel worthwhile. On a quiet Monday evening we strolled the streets of Chinatown in Malacca, Malaysia. It was a few weeks before Chinese New Year and the town was in full preparation mode. We watched men climb rickety bamboo scaffolding to hang glowing red (…) lanterns across the street. In the crimson glow cast by the lanterns food carts were loaded with special treats to celebrate the New Year including tangerines, sticky rice cakes and almond cookies.
Around the corner we heard a loud rhythmic booming noise followed by the metallic clash of cymbals. We followed the sound to its source: the Teo Chew Association, where several young men were practicing the Lion Dance for the upcoming festivities. (For our Philly readers, it reminded us of one of the Mummers Brigades.) They invited us in to watch the rehearsal and were kind enough to let us tape it. Many thanks to the guys for allowing us experience this special moment.