Chinese New Year in Singapore

Chinese New Year in Singapore is worth tweaking plans if travel is taking pace anywhere around the months of January and February. To head out into Chinatown and other venues throughout the city during Chinese New Year means experiencing a vibrant, exciting, and one-of-a-kind event filled with an array of traditional celebrations, vivid imagery, and plenty of cheer all around. Also known as Lunar New Year, this time of year marks an important occasion for Chinese families who are reuniting, some after many years without contact. The many aspects of this major holiday include music, food, performances, and spectacular decorations with fireworks lighting up the sky night after night.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is the most revered, and the longest, of all Chinese holidays, beginning on the first day of the initial month of the Chinese calendar and marking the end of winter. It starts off with spring, and is known to the Chinese as Spring Festival, and ends with the famous Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day. The significance of the festival is due to several ancient Chinese traditions and myths and has been honored for centuries. It is celebrated throughout territories and countries where large populations of Chinese people reside, such as Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Families gather on the eve of Chinese New Year for a festive annual gathering, often a reunion for many who live far apart.

Chinatown Celebrations

Chinatown Celebrations
Chinatown Celebrations  Image: benoit.mortgat (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0

Celebrations throughout Chinatown during Chinese New Year are extravagant: it is a perfect place to enjoy the annual traditions and customs of this special and important holiday. Night markets buzz with people, streets are lit up with colorful lights, and decorations adorn buildings, storefronts, streets, and more. Red is the festival’s main color: it can be seen in lanterns, flags, lights, and other decorations during the months of January and February. In Singapore, Chinatown is the place to be for this significant event. Lion and dragon dances relate substantial folklore behind Chinese New Year across the district, presenting a merry and joyous occasion where all ages partake. Events and activities around Singapore’s Chinatown also include the carnival-like Chingay Parade, a focal point of the festivities featuring entertainment such as fire-eating, magnificent floats, endless dancing, and plenty of magicians and other performers. This all takes place along the Marina’s waterfront at the Formula One Pit Building to accommodate the huge crowds.

River Hongbao

River Hongbao
River Hongbao

The River Hongbao is another of the top annual activities taking place during Chinese New Year. Located at the Esplanade Waterfront Promenade and Marina Bay Floating Platform during the middle of February, the River Hongbao reverberates with games stalls, exciting street performances, fireworks, shopping, and endless rows of lanterns. This is perhaps one of the most crowd-pleasing events and one that draws the largest crowds.

Huayi Festival

Huayi Festival
Huayi Festival

The yearly Huayi festival also takes place about the same time as the River Hongbao during Chinese New Year in Singapore at the Esplanade. This special function is another of the top things to do. Huayi commemorates both contemporary and traditional Chinese arts in an array of popular genres including music, opera, and theater, and features visual inductions by acclaimed artists from around the globe.

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