SINGAPORE: Visitors in Chinatown were treated to a spectacle of street lights, the lingering smell of traditional delicacies and a splendid fireworks display on Monday (Feb 4) - all part of a grand celebration to ring in the Year of the Pig.
For 21-year-old undergraduate Pearlyn Low, her visit to Chinatown this year was a special occasion. She wanted to bring her friend from the United States, Yanti Nanurung, to experience the spirit of Chinatown.
“I had her over for reunion dinner and wanted her to experience another aspect of how Chinese New Year is celebrated in Singapore. The crowd is part of the experience in Chinatown, it adds to the festivities where people just come together after reunion dinners,” Ms Low said.
She added: “People come to walk through the markets and soak in the festivities, and if it wasn’t crowded, it’ll feel lacking and it wouldn’t be that experience”.
Visitors experienced a visual treat of lights - that featured larger than life pigs and ingots which brought Chinatown to life.
“We like to experience the culture and we want to experience the ambience of Chinese New Year, it’s exciting. There are a lot of people around from all races and religions, everybody celebrates this festive season and we wanted to be to be part of that,” said IT Director Fitrah Muhammad.
Originally from Jakarta, he now lives in Singapore with his wife and four children. He added that the instalments were “very fascinating”.
To usher in the Year of the Pig, live performances and a rousing countdown celebration was held in the heart of Chinatown. Visitors were entertained by lively performances, skits, as well as interactive games.
And some did not want their pets to miss out on the fun.
Even the downpour at the Marina Bay area did not deter visitors from spending time at the 2019 River Hongbao festivity.
Held at The Float, the event is a mainstay on Singapore’s calendar of Chinese New Year celebrations since 1987 and is one of the first major events this year to commemorate the Singapore Bicentennial.
Many decided to join in the celebrations at the River Hongbao after their family reunion dinners, including 28-year-old Li Xinxin.
“This event happens only once in a year, so I’ll normally just come here to enjoy this festive season with my family and friends.
"I think that the designs are very uniquely Singapore and I wish that Singapore will remain prosperous and for my family and friends to stay healthy,” the education officer said.
For some, a visit to the River Hongbao is a yearly affair.
“Actually, my parents will want to come here every year … we have been here for 15 years consecutively. At least that’s what my mom told me, I also can’t remember,” quipped Ng Yong Yee, a regular at the Republic of Singapore Navy.