Written by Francis Buchanan on 21st January 2019
Chinese New Year 2019 is almost upon us. A period of festivity that marks the beginning of the new year on the traditional Chinese calendar, it’s celebrated by more than 20% of the earth’s population in all corners of the globe.
Its international status has led to the event being observed in a diverse range of different ways. In Singapore – a city-state where around 75% of the population is ethnically Chinese – Chinese New Year is a wholesome family affair where kinship is celebrated over a few weeks. In light of this, we thought we’d shine the spotlight on… Chinese New Year in Singapore!
Chinese New Year Dates
Chinese New Year, which is also known as chunjie or the Spring Festival, lasts for around 15 days. Each day within that period is observed in a different way. Here are the key dates.
New Year’s Eve: February 4th
New Year’s Eve is typically experienced as a family. After a reunion dinner, any children in the family will often receive red envelopes from relatives with money inside. In western cultures, New Year’s Eve is often celebrated with friends, but on Chinese New Year, the evening is predominantly spent with family members.
The Spring Festival: February 5th
The Spring Festival is generally known as a day of peace and relaxation. There are no specific ways to celebrate the first day of the Chinese New Year, many tend to continue the convivial family atmosphere from the night before.
The Day of the Rat: February 7th
The days that follow the Spring Festival are a curious medley of time-honoured traditions. For example, February 7th is known as the Day of the Rat, which according to folklore is the day that rats marry. Historically, people would share their harvest with rats and then leave in order to allow the rodents to wed in peace.
The Stone Festival: February 14th
The Stone Festival celebrates the birthday of the Rock. In some Far East cultures, baked bread is eaten at lunch in order to pave the way to success in the New Year.
The Lantern Festival: February 19th
The Lantern Festival – one of the most celebrated days of Chinese New Year – is observed on February 19th. The final of Chinese New Year, the Lantern Festival is prepared for in advance with many crafting lanterns in which they then cast off into the sky. The traditional belief behind this activity relates largely to fertility, rounding off the larger themes of family and kinship of the previous two weeks.
Chinese New Year Activities in Singapore
With such a predominantly Chinese ethnic population, it comes as no surprise that Singapore welcomes in the New Year in the manner that it does. From light festivals to festive bazaars, there are so many ways to celebrate Chinese New Year.
From the 3rd to the 10th of February, Marina Bay will be spectacularly lit up with lanterns and firework displays. Visitors can also expect to find carnival games, a Ferris wheel and live concerts. Firework displays take place every evening from 8 -10 pm.
Where better to celebrate Chinese New Year in Singapore than Chinatown itself? Dotted with hanging lanterns and authentic decorations, this part of the city is the perfect place to explore over the New Year period.
Those keen on trying something new in Singapore during Chinese New Year should head over to The Istana – the President’s official residence. Open to the public during the 6th of February only, visitors are offered to unique opportunity to explore this neo-Palladian marvel.
Another popular event during Chinese New Year in Singapore is the renowned Chingay Parade. Taking place over two days during the end of Chinese New Year, the parade offers visitors the perfect crescendo to a number of weeks of festivities. The Chingay Parade features floats, costumed dancers, musical performances and, of course, more fireworks.
Chinese New Year Animal 2019
2019 is the Year of the Pig. The pig is the twelfth of all zodiac animals. A symbol of wealth and good fortune in Chinese culture, people born in the year of the pig are thought to be blessed with a beautiful personality.
It is also believed that people born in the year of the pig are generally calm, cool-headed and trusting. However, they are also thought to exhibit elements of gullibility and low cunning.
A few famous faces have been born during the year of the pig. U.S. President, Ronald Reagan, U.S. Presidential candidate, Hilary Clinton and action movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger were all born during the year of the pig.
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