As the Year of the Rabbit begins on January 22, the Chinese New Year festivities will make a full physical return after two years of Covid-19 restrictions.
With a street light-up, food and festive fairs, weekly stage shows, and a countdown party, Chinatown Chinese New Year Festival return to the site.
Kreta Ayer Square will host the official street lighting on Jan 3 and, from Jan 3 through Feb 19, lights will be turned on in New Bridge Road, Eu Tong Sen Street, South Bridge Road, and Upper Cross Street.
As part of the Chinatown Festival Committee’s “Leaping into the Prosperous Year of Rabbit” theme, the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens’ Consultative Committee is supporting the festival.
There will also be stage shows on Jan 7, 8, 14, and 15 from 7 to 9pm at Kreta Ayer Square during the countdown party.
From Jan 1 to Jan 21, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Pagoda Street, Smith Street, Sago Street, Temple Street, and Trengganu Street will be the site of the Chinatown Festive Fair. As part of the same event, the Smith Street Chinatown Food Fair will be held for the first time.
A hongbao lantern-making workshop will be held at the Chinatown Visitor Center on Jan 7 by the Chinatown Business Association (CBA).
According to CBA executive director Lim Yick Suan, Chinese New Year is one of Chinatown’s most anticipated celebrations. Chinatown is already vibrating as merchants prepare to welcome shoppers with festive goodies and decorations.”
Chingay Parade 2023 will bring back its live performance at the F1 Pit Building on Feb 3 and 4 following two years of hybrid and digital editions. More than 3,000 young people will participate in the performances.
In celebration of Singapore’s diverse cultures, a container art installation will stand 18m tall and 60m wide, comprising 28 shipping containers designed by the community.
(Tu)gether, at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC) at 1 Straits Boulevard, showcases CNY practices in Singapore using There are three Chinese mythological characters – Tu Zai (rabbit), Nian Mei (CNY dragon), and Ong Lai (pineapple).
It runs from now until March 31 from 10am to 10pm daily, created by local artists Fiona Koh and Warren Khong.
On selected Saturdays from 7.30pm to 8.30pm, there will be a laser light and sound show, narrated by Tu Zai, who is returning home to celebrate Chinese New Year with his family and friends.
Red packets will be on sale at the SCCC reception counters now through February 5, while supplies last. As of Jan 4, the SCCC will also launch Festive Fever, an online guide for CNY, at https://festivefever.singaporeccc.org.sg/chinese-new-year/
The Gardens by the Bay will host River Hongbao for the third consecutive year from January 20 to January 28. Besides lanterns and carnival games, Getai singers and local artists perform during the festival.
At the Flower Dome, Dahlia Dreams, the CNY floral display, runs from Jan 13 to Feb 26. 100 rabbit figurines frolic among more than 2,000 plants, including 40 varieties of vibrant dahlias and popular CNY blooms.
An impressive River Hongbao lantern set will feature a magnolia tree shaped like the Chinese character for “rabbit ”.
Also included in the floral display will be a depiction of Aesop’s fable, The Tortoise And The Hare. Dahlia Dreams also features well-known aspects of Chinese culture, such as paper-cutting, lion dances, and CNY goodies.
The dazzling colours of dahlias and their association with prosperity make them a very popular part of Chinese New Year celebrations, said Gardens by the Bay chief executive officer Felix Loh.
“We hope that everyone who visits will be able to immerse themselves in the joy and vibrancy of a new spring through our colourful and engaging floral displays and exciting programmes.”
Wan Qing Yuan in Tai Gin Road will kick off its Wan Qing Festival of Spring 2023 with Bunny-ful Blessings, an outdoor installation featuring two 2.5m rabbits representing double “hare-ppiness”.
In collaboration with Hong Kong illustrator and designer Chan Siu Kau, the exhibit will run from December 29 to February 19.
Visitors can also sign up for lion dances and festive drumming workshops, as well as storytelling and craft activities.
To provide participants with a better understanding of how devotees celebrate the new year, the memorial hall will also host special temple tours.
Hongbao campaign for Lunar New Year will be carried out by the National Heritage Board (NHB).
39 museums, heritage institutions, and galleries will offer complimentary red packets from Jan 6 to Feb 3. Each set includes eight red packets featuring the museum where it is distributed, and each visitor is allowed one set. In addition, visitors can purchase a collector’s album featuring all the designs of the red packets.
In 2019, before the pandemic, Museum Roundtable visitorships averaged over 730,000, while in 2022, it averaged slightly below 400,000.
National Museum of Singapore’s permanent galleries will be free of charge on Feb 4 as part of its Chinese New Year celebrations.
“We expect museum visitorship to be higher than in 2022 due to crowd-pullers like the popular hongbao campaign and festive lawn installation, as well as new innovative offerings like temple tours,” said NHB deputy chief executive of policy and community Alvin Tan.
“However, due to revenge tourism and more competing local offerings, it remains to be seen whether we can return to pre-Covid-19 figures.”
(Credits: Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, PAssion Chingay Club, Gardens by the Bay)