Well known for being the place to be to soak in the festival atmosphere, Chinatown Singapore has always been the place to be during the Chinese New Year Celebrations. This year, the Chinese New Year celebrations 2021 will look a little different as we continue to observe safe distancing measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, there is no International Lion Dance competition (quite understandably), nor is there a festive street market.
Nonetheless, you can still head down to Chinatown to purchase Chinese New Year goodies, decorations and clothes from the shops that line Pagoda Street, Trengganu Street and Temple Street, as well as within Chinatown Complex.
If you are wondering what is taking place as part of the Chinatown celebrations this year, we round up the activities below, including the Chinatown Chinese New Year street light up.
Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations 2021
Official Light-Up and Opening Ceremony
To avoid any crowd gatherings, the Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations 2021 Official Light-Up and Opening Ceremony will be launched virtually this year. You can catch it live-streamed on the Chinatown Festival’s Facebook page. The launch event will feature lion dances, cultural and acrobatic performances. It will be streamed from the from the Kreta Ayer People’s Theatre, where Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, Host Adviser Mrs Josephine Teo, who is also Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs, as well as fellow Advisers to Jalan Besar GRC Grassroots Organisations (GROs) will be in attendance.
Date: 23 January 2021, Saturday
Time: 8 pm to 8.50 pm
Street Light Up
This year’s street light-up will be held along New Bridge Road, Eu Tong Sen Street and South Bridge Road from 23 January to 12 March 2021. It will held from 7 pm to midnight daily. Look out for contemporary-looking sculptured lanterns. There will be features an auspicious 88 ox lanterns grazing along the roadside as well as greetings strung over the roads for all to enjoy.
This year’s centrepiece is a towering 10-metre-tall oxen display located opposite Chinatown Point. It depicts a large golden ox standing atop gold coins and ingots to symbolise fortune and prosperity. The riverbank and water wheel next to the ox represent the flow of wealth and fortune, and the hope for a smooth-sailing year ahead.
Date: 23 January to 12 March 2021
Time: 7 pm to midnight
Chinese New Year Short Films
Enjoy three specially produced short films featuring renowned Chinatown merchants such as Bee Cheng Hiang, Kele and Spring Court. To be streamed on Chinatown Festivals Facebook and Instagram Pages, the short films will bring the audience through a journey on the preparation of various Chinese New year’s delicacies like bak kwa, pineapple tarts and traditional double-boiled bird’s nest with whole chicken and how these delicacies came to be associated with the festival and traditions.
There will also be an online photo collage activity for some family-bonding fun as visitors are encouraged to submit photos of themselves re-creating old photos of yesteryear.
Date: Mid-January onwards
Where: Chinatown Festivals Facebook and Instagram Pages
If you are interested to learn how to bake well-known brand Kele’s signature pineapple ball, you can learn how to do so from Chinatown Festival’s virtual workshop that will be live-streamed on their Facebook Page. Purchase your baking kit curated by Kele before 23 January at this site to enjoy a hands-on experience during the live stream!
Date: 24 Jan 2021
Time: 10 am to 11.30 am
Where: Chinatown Festivals Facebook Page
Chinatown Chinese New Year Online activities
From a photo collage activity for some family bonding fun to a series of giveaway activities, there will be a ton of interesting content to learn about and celebrate the Chinese New Year and traditions, along with some family-bonding fun! More information to be released soon!
Date: Mid-January onwards
Venue: Chinatown Festivals Facebook and Instagram Page
360 Virtual Tour and Heritage Trail
The Chinatown 360 Virtual Tour is back for a second edition, featuring the Chinatown CNY Street Light-up as well as the virtual Heritage Trail, where volunteer guides will bring you through various points of interests in Chinatown. Look out for the microsite by early February.
Date: End January/Early February onwards
Venue: Chinatown Festivals Website
Adopt a Lantern
Since the launch of “Adopt a Lantern” by Chinatown Festivals Organising Committee in 2014, there has been a steady increase in the adoption of lanterns by the general public in support of recycling and being environmentally friendly.
For the Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations 2021, the “Adopt a Lantern” campaign is once again available for the general public to adopt one or more lanterns after the Street light-up ends on 12 March 2021.
Adoption is free but interested parties will have to submit an online application, arrange their own transport and manpower to collect their adopted lanterns upon receipt on notification of successful application from the Organiser. The dates for application will be from 22 February 2021 to 28 February 2021 and successful applicants will be notified on 5 March 2021.
Enjoying Chinese New Year 2021
Mr Vincent Tan, Chairman, Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations 2021 Organising Committee said, “It is important that we continue to celebrate Chinese New Year, bring cheer, and showcase the vibrant traditions of the festival while adhering to safe management measures. Even though events such as the Festive Street Bazaar and Countdown Party had to be cancelled to minimise crowds, visitors can still enjoy the colours, sights and sounds of Chinatown with their family and loved ones from the comfort of their homes with the hybrid line-up of programmes this year.”
For more details on what’s on in Chinatown for Chinese New Year 2021, visit the Chinatown Festivals website.