Top 7 CNY events in Singapore
The Chinese New Year is a festival celebrated by most of the south-eastern Asian countries including Singapore. In fact, it is one of the largest festivals in Singapore, no doubt due to the high percentage of Singaporeans with Chinese origins. It is observed as a public holiday in Singapore and usually engages the entire population.
The festival often lasts around 40 days and is popular for the numerous festivities and events that take place during the celebrations. The top 7 CNY events to watch out for in Singapore:
1. River Hongbao
The River Hongbao tradition started in 1987 has blossomed one of the most iconic events around Chinese New Year celebrations in Singapore. The festival usually lasts for about 10 consecutive days and takes place at the Marina Bay Floating Platform. The River Hongbao is usually celebrated with a lot of fireworks on the eve of the Chinese New Year.
There are also various kinds of performances from notable artists every night, with the line-up of activities different every night. The entire area is littered with festive delicacies and giant colourful handcrafted lanterns which are a big part of new year celebrations. To top it all off, you also get the chance to get your lucky numbers from the God of Fortune.
2. Nightly Stage shows
Multitudes of people gather at the Kreta Ayer Square next to the Buddha Tooth Relic temple to witness several cultural performance troupes perform. The performers range from indigenous Singaporeans to foreigners from all over the world.
The performances are usually a showcase of Chinese traditions like martial arts, Chinese opera, folk songs, lion dances, dance numbers and more. They are fun and educating for non-indigenes who can use them as an avenue to learn about the Chinese culture.
The shows run for about 2hr30mins every night for three weeks and are a must see for all visitors and tourists.
3. Chingay Parade
The Chignay parade is the largest street performance and float parade in Asia. It is a showcase of Singapore’s multicultural diversity, bringing together the uniqueness of the Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians. The Chignay Parade is very colourful, fun-filled and entertaining, it is marked with an audacious array of dazzling floats, stilt walkers, performers of different races, prancing lions and dancing dragons.
The annual parade was introduced about forty years ago to compensate for the then ban on firecrackers. It makes its way through the heart of the country from the original F1 pit building via the back of Singapore flyer to the Marina Bay Floating platform where River Hongbao is also held. It is usually open to the public for viewing free of charge.
4. Chinatown Festivals
Chinatown has been the home for Lunar new year celebrations for a long time. There are several festivals that take place in Chinatown during the celebrations starting with the Official light-up and opening ceremony. The ceremony usually marks the opening of the Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebration and is a favourite among visitors because of the entertaining performances from both local and foreign groups and of course, the spectacular display of fireworks and firecrackers.
After the official light-up and opening ceremony, 6 weeks of street light-up follow on the streets of Chinatown. The light-up usually features creatively crafted lanterns made by combining modern and traditional design.
The Chinatown Chinese New Year Countdown is a major landmark festival in Chinatown as it ushers in the new year with live performances and an exciting countdown celebration right in the middle of Chinatown. The countdown party’s highlight is the stunning display of fireworks.
5. International Lion Dance competition
Originally from the Chinese culture, the international lion dance has become a recognised sport all over the world. This international dance competition draws the best of all lion dance groups from Singapore and Asia Pacific come and put on their best displays for a shot at the grand prize. Winning the competition grants any group the bragging rights of being the ‘best of the best’.
There is often so much for a spectator to take in, the royal rhythms of the drums, mind-blowing acrobatic stunts by the performers, intricate manoeuvres, colourful costumes and much more. The performances are more than entertaining, they leave viewers with mouths ajar in wonder often catching the fancy of first-time viewers.
6. Festive Street Bazaar
Hundreds of stores line up the streets of Chinatown for 3 weeks and cause a shopping frenzy during the Chinese New Year celebrations. The streets are lit up and the stalls beautifully decorated to attract customers who are always eager to test out new stuff.
Whether you are looking for new year traditional goodies like snacks, decorative items, fruits and potted plants or household items like lighted candles, insecticides, shoes etc., you are sure to find something to buy.
The best part is they come at very low and ridiculous prices. Vendors selling new year items have to slash their prices to ensure they clear out their goods since it will be 12 years before they can sell the same designs again. This is because the lunar year has a 12-year cycle with each year represented by an animal.
Other vendors of household products also give massive discounts to help them make maximum sales from the holidays.
7. Huayi Festival
The Huayi Festival began in 2003 as one of four annual cultural festivals at Esplanade celebrating Singapore’s multiculturally diverse heritage. Huayi – Chinese festival of arts presents the best Chinese artists of all genres regardless of whether they are contemporary or traditional, conventional or pioneering.
Huayi provides standout artists with the platform to present their works to an international audience during the Chinese New Year celebrations in Singapore. It also affords visitors and tourists the opportunity to connect with the Chinese culture and artistry, helping them see different viewpoints and interpretations of the Chinese identity.
Huayi is a significant part of Singapore’s Chinese New Year festivities, providing audiences with a feeling of some of the remarkable forms of Chinese artistic expression.