Chinese New Year, Singapore
The lunar new year, a.k.a. Chinese year is one of the biggest holidays in Singapore. The holiday starts with the lunar new year's eve. Offices usually close at 12 or 2pm. Singaporean buddhists -go home and meet up with family for their reunion dinners.
The lunar new year is quite festive. Chinatown is super crowded. It usually is very busy a few weeks before the holiday. The streets are decorated with images of the lunar animals. The lunar animal of that year's image is everywhere. For instance, for 2005-it's the year of the rooster. There is a small concert and fireworks in chinatown at midnight. At the esplanade-they have larger grander fireworks that go off at midnight.
Many guide books recommend visitors to come to Singapore and Hong Kong during the Chinese New Year. I don't know about Hong Kong, but it's really not the best time to come to Singapore.
Lunar New Year's eve is quite interesting and worth to see. But during the holiday, which is two days long -things are closed. Mostly everything is closed the first day and some businesses will open the second day. The only things that are open during this time are restaurants in Little India. The hotel restaurants will be open-but orchard road will be empty. Before the holiday-locals will load up on groceries.
If you decide to come into the area for the lunar new year's eve and leave the next day. Be warned that a lot of Singaporeans will be traveling out of Singapore as well. Many plan their travel 6 months ahead. Flights out of Singapore to Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and other neighboring countries will be quite full. Just book early and you will be fine.
A week after the official public holidays, there is the Chingay parade. This parade is a little silly, but has some nice floats, many with corporate logos.
Next Lunar New Year-January 29-31 2006
Every year, the Chinese community celebrates their most important festival - Lunar New Year. This is a celebration of a fresh start to the year. Something similar to the New Year that the world celebrates on 1 Jan.
The Lunar New Year is dependent on the Chinese calendar and ususally happens either in Jan or Feb. The Lunar New Year sees the renewal of ties among kin, the celebration of life, sharing of food, and the giving of red packet that contains money to the children.
As you probably know, Singapore is also celebrating Chinese New Year and amongst a lot of chinese traditional customs, they introduced the old chinese tradition Yu Sheng (raw fish salad) in recent years.
Yu Sheng is eated during Lunar New Year for prosperity and good luck (what else?). Various ingreadients are set on a plate and around this plate in the middle of the table. Each ingredient is added to this dish, in a specific order and with a specific meaning (nor sure about the order, though):
Oil; Wishing you a happy and prosperours New Year
Plum Sauce; May you have a house full of treasures
Pepper and Five Spice Powders May great fortune smile on you
Raw Fish (usually Salmon); Wishing you surplus wealth
Lime; May you have good luck, success and prosperity
Crackers; wishing you great abundance of gold
When you toss the ingredients to mix the dish, it is believed you should toss as high as possible to ensure your wealth (called Lo Hei). The higher you toss, the greater the wealth. During this tossing you should express your wishes like: "many kids", "good health", and so on. The better you do it, the messier the table looks later on. Maybe that's why the Singaporean like this part of CNY.
This ceremony can be found during Chinese New Year Lunches at Chinese Restaurants all over Singapore or at office gatherings.
Bak Kwa which mean bbq pork is a must have for many singaporean during the chinese new year.This particular brand is well loved by all locals and you will see queues forming 2-3 weeks before the chinese new year.
The Chingay Parade 2005 was held on 19 Feb.
I was in Orchard Road since 6pm. It was to be held at 8pm.
We went in search of many places just to have an excellent view of the parade.
there were many floats which passes by.
Since it is the Year of Rooster, we saw many chicks, hen and a big Rooster Float.
To usher in the year of the Rooster, Chinatown is transformed into a fairyland of light and colour with spectacular overarching decorations lining the streets.
The bustling street bazaar (15 Jan - 8 Feb) with its delectable array of goodies like waxed duck, BBQ Meat - "Ba Kwa" (my Fav), cookies and other new year accessories.
For 2005, the Chinatown light up ceremony falls on 15 Jan at 7.30pm. The fire crackers were lighted and you could hear them cracking miles away.
I was there to soak in the atmosphere. Thousands of them were there too. You could see the crowds. The Eu Tong Sen Street was closed from 3pm to 11pm. Most people took the MRT to Chinatown station which is just opposite Hotel 81 Chinatown.
Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later.
The Chinese calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. The lunar cycle is about 29.5 days. In order to "catch up" with the solar calendar the Chinese insert an extra month once every few years (seven years out of a 19-yearcycle). This is the same as adding an extra day on leap year.
This is why, according to the solar calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year.
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving.
Have a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year!
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Heralding the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese Zodiac, the streets of Chinatown will be adorned with festive light-ups to welcome one of the most revered cultural events in the city.
Feast your eyes and ears on deafening fire crackers and beautiful bursts of colours in a specially choreographed fireworks and pyrotechnics display along with confetti showers.
Try the Chinese New Year Goodies from mandarin oranges, pineappletarts, cookies, sweets, plum blossoms, waxed meat to my favourite "Ba Kwa" (BBQ Pork/Chicken) and prawn rolls.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Singapore is dominated by its Chinese population, at over 75 percent. With this, you can imagine the size of the Chinese New Year Celebration. The celebration lasts 15 days. It starts on the first new moon of the new year, and goes 15 days until the full moon appears. That 15th day is called the Lattern Festival, and is celebrated with parades and other festivities.
As a random stroke of luck would have it, I happened to be in Singapore for the Chinese New Year. AND, in Chinatown! I can't express how cool this was. All along New Bridge Road and all its offshoots, were markets and decorations, it was really amazing to be in.