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Singapore Sparkles with Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year - Singapore

Chinese New Year – Singapore

Soak up the festive atmosphere of Chinese New Year as Singapore comes alive with colourful celebrations until 11th March.  Welcome the Year of the Water Snake with hanging lanterns, traditional music, night stalls and delicious food, as this eagerly anticipated festival is celebrated by Singaporeans from all walks of life.

Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, is the biggest and most significant event in Singapore and its importance and celebration is similar to that of Christmas in Australia.  A key part of Chinese New Year is sharing it with visitors and friends.  Start your celebrations by exploring the wonderland of Chinatown as it prepares to meet the New Year.  Be enthralled by the 108 metre long snake sculpture made up of 5,000 red cube lanterns near Chinatown Point as part of the Chinese New Year Light-Up, or head to South Bridge Road to see the other snake made from 850 sky lanterns.  Plus, there’s another 88 lanterns featuring the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac along the key Chinatown thoroughfares of Eu Tong Street and New Bridge Road.

After Chinatown, head down to the River Hongbao on Marina Bay to maximise your good luck!  River Hongbao is an annual event steeped in Chinese culture and tradition, and takes its name from the small red money packets which are given to children during Chinese New Year.  Don’t miss the Marina Bay Floating platform and the Esplanade Waterfront Promenade in mid-February as it explodes with the throbbing beat of lively street performances, shopping, games stalls, lanterns and fireworks.

Chingay is a colourful and exciting street parade – and another centrepiece of Chinese New Year Festivities.  Held on February 22nd and 23rd, Chingay is a traditional Chinese procession that has evolved to a carnival-like street parade.  Think incredible floats, daring fire eaters, amazing acrobats and delightful dancers.  It’s a celebration not to be missed!

With so many celebratory events associated with Chinese New Year, February is the perfect time to Get Lost and discover more about Singapore’s culture and heritage!  Why not start the journey now with the following Top 5 Facts:

1.      Chinese New Year is a two day public holiday where everyone visits their family and friends.  Visits are made in order of importance and respect.  Family visits are made on the first day, starting with the oldest family members.  Any visits to friends are usually made on the second day.

2.      When visiting friends and family during Chinese New Year, always wear red, pink, gold or bright colours.  Red is associated with joy, good luck, wealth and good fortune.  Black is avoided during the celebration period as it is seen to symbolise bad luck and even death.

3.      It is customary to present two mandarins to the host when visiting someone’s home.  This signifies good luck and good fortune.  When guests depart, the host will give two mandarins in return so that guests have not given away all of their own luck.

4.      Yusheng is a fish salad (usually salmon) that is only eaten at Chinese New Year, and all its ingredients have specific meaning in relation to wishes for the year ahead .  For example, the oil is to smooth the path ahead, golden chips represent wealth which is hoped will come your way, and plum sauce signifies the sweetness to fill your life.  At the table everyone tosses the salad together to mix the ingredients while saying wishes to bring good luck for the year, usually for an abundance of wealth and a long life!  The act of tossing is called “lo hei” and the tossing symbolises the wish for good fortune to come down on you.  It is believed that the higher you toss the salad, the greater your fortunes will be.

5.      In preparation for the New Year, everyone cleans their house including sweeping floors.  On the first day of Chinese New Year however, be sure not to sweep your floor, as it is said that this will sweep away your good luck for the whole year ahead!

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