Chinatown's Chinese New Year celebrations return in full force after 2 years
The Year of the Rabbit marks the return of the festive fair after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the street light-up, weekly stage shows and the Chinese New Year countdown party.
SINGAPORE: After two years of virtual celebrations, Chinatown's Chinese New Year celebrations are back in full force.
Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, who attended the opening and light-up ceremony on Tuesday (Jan 3) to usher in the Year of the Rabbit, called the occasion "extra special".
"The Chinatown light-up is a proud Singaporean tradition. We have been doing this for more than 20 years. But this year’s ceremony is extra special," Mr Wong said.
"Because for the past two years, we have not been able to gather in large groups, we have not had the same festive fare that all of you are so used to, because of COVID restrictions. So the celebrations have been muted and it was not quite the same spirit as before."
"But this year, finally, we have been able to resume all our activities, and we can have a full festive atmosphere to usher in the new year. So we have much to be grateful for, and much to rejoice," he said.
Mr Wong, who is also Finance Minister, acknowledged there will be "continued challenges and uncertainties in this Year of the Rabbit" but urged Singaporeans to remain strong.
"So if we continue to stay united as a country, and we work together as one people, as we have done over the past three years of tackling COVID-19, I am confident that we can build a brighter future and a better Singapore together," he added.
RETURN OF THE FESTIVE FAIR
This Chinese New Year marks the return of the festive fair after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, along with the street light-up, weekly stage shows and the Chinese New Year countdown party, the Chinatown Festivals Committee said on Tuesday.
The festivities will last until Feb 19.
“The celebration will bring together Singaporeans and foreign visitors alike for this key event in the Chinese cultural calendar,” the committee said, adding that the celebration “aims to promote a deeper appreciation of Chinese culture and traditions, among locals from all walks of life”.
Themed “Leaping into the Prosperous Year of the Rabbit”, the light-up features dioramas along New Bridge Road, South Bridge Road, Eu Tong Sen Street and Upper Cross Street, which is included for the first time.
A 10m centerpiece depicting a multi-generational rabbit family reuniting for Chinese New Year has been placed along the junction of Upper Cross Street and New Bridge Road.
The street decorations were designed in collaboration with students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design, the committee added.
The festive fair will feature 280 stalls selling festive goods spanning Smith Street, Pagoda Street, Trengganu Street and Temple Street, as well as weekly stage shows held over two weekends at Kreta Ayer Square.
A countdown party will be held at Kreta Ayer Square on Jan 21, the eve of Chinese New Year.
The party will be broadcasted live on Channel 8 from 10.30pm and will feature a line-up of performances from Mediacorp artistes.
As part of the festivities, the committee also partnered with local gamification startup Sqkii to run a game called The Lucky Rabbit, where visitors to the Chinatown precinct can complete tasks to win prizes.
The game is available until Feb 5.
'THE MOST IMPORTANT FESTIVE HOLIDAY'
“We are excited to be welcoming the most important festive holiday on the lunar calendar back to the streets of the historically significant precinct of Chinatown,” said Minister for Communications and Information and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo, who is also adviser to Jalan Besar GRC Grassroots Organisations (Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng).
“The Chinese New Year celebration unites Singaporeans and international visitors across cultures and generations through a thrilling line-up of festivities, and sets the stage for an auspicious, prosperous year ahead.”
As a larger crowd will be expected compared to the past two years, the committee reminded members of the public to visit earlier in the day, outside of weekends, to avoid congestion.
Auxiliary police officers and security officers will be deployed to manage crowds in the vicinity, it added.
“In the event of overcrowding, access into Pagoda Street, Trengganu Street and/or Temple Street will be restricted, to ensure public safety,” the committee said.
“All visitors are reminded to safeguard their belongings and be vigilant against molesters, pickpockets, and thieves while they soak in the celebrative atmosphere.”
"Visitors should also bag their litter and throw it into the nearby litter bins for a ‘litter-free’ Singapore."
The full programme of festivities can be viewed at chinatownfestivals.sg.