St. Anne is regarded as the mother of Mary, the virgin who gave birth to Jesus Christ. Catholics observe her feast day on July 26 every year. The pilgrims celebrate Feast of St. Anne in a festive and carnival style starting with a 9-day novena, stalls pedalling convenient meals, information booths and ending with a procession of St. Anne’s statue around the town of Bukit Mertajam.

The 9-day novena comes to a peak on the tenth day with a mass that precedes the procession trailed by those attending the feast bearing crosses, candles or lamps. During the 10 days, the Minor Basilica of St. Anne has been known to receive around 10,000 visitors per day and climaxing to more than that on the final day.

This Christian festival is very possibly the largest second only to Christmas in Malaysia. There is often a celebratory ambience on the church premises due to the stalls and booths erected but also from the pilgrims’ congenial mood. This pleasant, harmonious vibe spills onto the town area as well, attracting quite a few tourists to come for a peek to satisfy curiosity as much as to soak in the gladness.

content credit: Penang Global Tourism