With bright colours, non-stop revelry and sheer exuberance, Chinese New Year is one festival that demands all of your attention—and energy.
Also known as Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is undoubtedly the most important event in the Chinese calendar, and was traditionally a time to honour both traditional deities and familial ancestors.
2024 ushers in the Year of The Dragon, which starts on February 10. Read on to learn more about the ancient traditions and modern-day celebrations that mark this iconic, island-wide celebration.
To get into the heart of the festive action, be sure to visit the historic enclave of Chinatown, home to the Chinatown Chinese New Year Festival. An annual extravaganza, this celebration will see the district’s streets lined with beautifully designed lanterns and luminous decorations.
The official light-up opening ceremony commences on 19 January, at Kreta Ayer Square. Expect to be enchanted by weekly stage shows, bustling fairs and vendors selling an assortment of snacks and traditional goodies.
For more information on the calendar of exciting activities, be sure to check out Chinatown Festivals’ official website.
More than just a modern-day celebration, the Lunar New Year is filled with rich customs and meaning.
In Chinese traditions, the colour red is seen as particularly lucky, and undoubtedly the hue of the season. Singaporeans spend much of Chinese New Year visiting friends, relatives and loved ones clad in bright red clothing, while hong bao (scarlet paper packets filled with money) are given to children and younger relatives.
You’ll see this auspicious colour in homes all over Singapore, thoroughly spring-cleaned and decorated with touches of crimson everywhere–in the lanterns hung by the gates, the spring couplets adorning doorways and the bright ribbons adorning kumquat plants, their yellow fruit symbolising ‘gold’ or prosperity.
Feasting with family
The heart of Chinese New Year is ultimately a celebration of home and family, hence gatherings with family and relatives around the dining table are de rigueur.
And nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the tradition of Reunion Dinner, held on the eve of Chinese New Year. Family members return home (sometimes travelling from overseas) to share this most important meal with loved ones.
The following days are then spent visiting relatives and friends, conveying blessings of good fortune for the year ahead and enjoying time with the ones who matter most.