The light from more than 2,600 lanterns cast a festive hue over the streets of Chinatown. And, with the hustle and bustle of market stalls, there can be no mistaking that the Lunar New Year 2016 is just around the corner.
With the Year of the Monkey fast approaching, Chinatown is all decked out in its festive best. This year, Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens’ Consultative Committee, organisers of the festivities in Chinatown, is taking it one step further and has included outreach activities into its Lunar New Year programme. These aim to share the heritage of Chinatown and Chinese cultural traditions with visitors. Events planned include a Harmony Night to promote closer bonding within the community and a special exhibition at the revamped Chinatown Heritage Centre.
Of course, you don’t need to take part in these activities to be able to enjoy the atmosphere in Chinatown. If you are planning a visit, here six things you can look out for in Chinatown this festive period.
1. Mega Events – Official Light-up and Opening Ceremony & Chinatown Chinese New Year Countdown Party
16 Jan & 7 Feb
The Official Light-up and Opening Ceremony for the Chinatown celebrations takes place on Saturday, 16 January and will be graced by President Tony Tan Keng Yam. Local and foreign troupes will also be present to entertain the crowds with daring feats of bravo and acrobatics. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, MediaCorp artists will be hosting a countdown party from 9.30 pm onwards, ending off with a big bang of firecrackers and fireworks to welcome in the Year of the Monkey.
2. Street Light-up
16 January to 8 March, 7 pm onwards
Lanterns in the form of playful monkeys, peaches, spring blossoms and gold zodiac coins adorn the streets of Chinatown. Be sure to look out for the 12-metre tall peach tree lantern at the junction of Upper Cross Street and Eu Tong Sen Street too. This year’s lantern display was developed in collaboration with students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design and is the largest number of customised lanterns ever put up in Chinatown.
3. Festive Street Bazaar & Festive Carnival
15 January to 7 February, 6 pm to 10.30 pm
Shop for new clothes, chow down on CNY munchies or just soak in the festive spirit. This year’s Festive Street Bazaar boasts 440 stalls and will stay open till 10.30 pm daily and till 1 am on Chinese New Year’s Eve. For some carnival fun, head to the open space in front of People’s Park Complex where a festive carnival will take place.
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4. Lion Dance Competition
23 to 24 January, 7 pm to 10.30 pm
Chinese New Year would not be complete without pugilistic lions and thumping drums. Catch 14 of the best lion dance troupes from eight countries duke it out for top honours in this year’s International Lion Dance Competition. Being held at Hong Lim Park, tickets are on sale from $10 onwards.
5. Chinatown Wishing Tree
12 Jan to 7 Feb, 11 am to 9 pm
Make a wish for the new year at the wishing tree outside Chinatown Point. Buy a ‘Make a Wish’ card at $2 and make someone else’s wish come true with all proceeds towards the Kreta Ayer Seniors’ Activity Centre.
6. “My Father Tongue” Exhibition
Discover how different Chinese dialect groups celebrated Chinese New Year in the past at “My Father Tongue”, a special exhibition being held at the revamped Chinatown Heritage Centre. Here, visitors can learn more about the food and customs of the three main Chinese dialect groups in yesteryear Singapore.