Noticed all the lanterns and bright lights across Chinatown? Yep, it’s that time of the year again! Chinese New Year is in full force in Singapore, so we’ve listed some great events and handy tips for you to experience a truly authentic, fun and prosperous start to the Year of the Tiger.
What’s it all about?
Marking the beginning of the new year on the Chinese lunar calendar, Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year) is celebrated by communities all over the world. The festivities traditionally last for a total of 15 days. The evening before the first day is typically spent having a sumptuous dinner with family (called the reunion dinner); common traditions include buying new clothes, exchanging oranges, giving red packets and putting up decorations such as lanterns to bring good luck and fortune.
There are many legends surrounding the origins of the festival; the story of Nian is among the popular ones. According to Chinese myth, a monster called Nian lived in the mountains surrounding a village. On the first day of every year, he would torment the villagers, feasting on grain, cattle … and children! They eventually discovered that the beast was afraid of loud noises and the colour red. So, to get rid of Nian, they spread red across the village, banged on drums and set off fireworks. And Nian never returned. These actions became part of the New Year tradition – hanging up red decorations and lanterns, and playing loud drums. In Mandarin, the word for New Year is guo nian, which literally translates to “overcoming Nian”.
Where to go and what to do in Chinese New Year
Until 13 February, Funan is presenting popular mall artworks for the second year. In Creative Intersections, shoppers can get a taste of an outer space-inspired “Aliens ate my homework” gelato, put their own creative spin on their Dr. Martens boots with customisation workshops, or explore physical and digital non-fungible tokens (NFTs) artworks by local artists.
This year’s Chinese New Year edition is themed “In the Year of the Tiger”; 15 artist and brand collaborations are featured, in the areas of fashion, food, lifestyle and more. Look out for eclectic Tiger-themed art installations tucked into multiple corners of the mall. They’re not just innovative and thought-provoking, they’re also great for the Gram!
Beyond digital and hybrid art interventions, the public will have opportunities to appreciate art through talks, workshops, in-store activations and products.
107 North Bridge Road
6970 1668 | facebook.com/FunanSG/
Authentic Cantonese restaurant Yàn is ushering in the Year of the Tiger with a spread of Lunar New Year delights for both dine-in and takeaway. Enjoy specially curated à la carte dishes and six set menus, available for self-collection and delivery.
The signature Harvest Pen Cai (“pen cai” is a traditional dish of celebration) is available for dine-in and takeaway until 15 February. Its array of auspicious ingredients includes king grouper, roast pork, live prawns, sea moss and more. Prosperity treats can also be picked up in the restaurant or delivered straight to your doorstep during the same period. Among the goodies are classic pineapple tarts and the popular caramelised walnuts.
Families can celebrate the spirit of the Lunar New Year with set menus (from $138 per person) offering six to seven courses featuring premium meats and seafood, and an eight-course vegetarian set menu (from $88 per person). Find out the details here.
1 St. Andrew’s Road
6384 5585 | yan.com.sg
Don’t miss a stroll through Chinatown where you can admire the annual festive street light-up. Themed “Ushering in a Roaring New Year”, this year marks the 20-year anniversary of the Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations. The street is adorned with decorations put up by 12 students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design.
Take in the view of majestic Bengal tigers, an ideal representation of strength and vitality in 2022. The tigers are known for their stripes that are unique to each individual, like our fingerprints. The festive decorations will be up until 2 March.
Besides the light-up, there’s also an array of other festival highlights. Leave your well wishes at the Chinatown wishing tree located at the Chinatown Point Atrium, until 15 February. And don’t miss out on the spectacular display of life-sized tiger sculptures at Kreta Ayer Square! For information on the full line-up, take a look here.
Of course, we can’t forget the annual Chingay Parade. This is the largest street performance and float parade in Asia, so it’s one you’ll definitely want to catch! Returning to delight audiences after its inaugural digital version in 2021, the 2022 annual Chingay showcase (“Chingay50”) continues to harness the power of technology and community involvement with its 50th edition.
Themed ‘Ignite Our Dreams’, Chingay50 will be a multi-dimensional experience airing live online and on social media channels on Saturday, 12 February. It will be reminiscing about the history of the parade, honouring collective experiences and aspirations, while expressing hopes for the future.
Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
The Wan Qing Festival of Spring is back again, with a fun-filled line-up of programmes and activities suitable for all ages. Expect family-friendly offerings such as lion dance and festive drumming workshops, heritage trails, guided tours, craft activities for the little ones, and more.
Those looking to understand more about Chinese arts and culture will appreciate the special exhibition Nian Hua: Of Deities, Guardians and Auspicious Art, where customs and traditions dating back to Qing dynasty and the Republic are explored. Watch artworks come to life in the annual thematic installation, Blessings Come A-Knocking, and capture your best Lunar New Year OOTD.
Online programmes will also be available on their official Facebook page: facebook.com/sysnmh.
Welcome the Lunar New Year a different way at The Cosmic Voyage by Glenfiddich. This immersive 360° cinematic experience is located at the heart of Orchard Road, on the rooftop of Design Orchard.
The Cosmic Voyage is a rich, multisensory journey that invites viewers to follow the Royal Stag towards a galaxy of possibilities. Embark on futuristic space exploration through a starry sky containing classic representations of the Lunar New Year – lanterns, fireworks, and dancing lions – alongside rockets, planets, and other cosmic features. This eye-opening exhibit will broaden your perspective on what it means to celebrate the Chinese festival.
Visitors to The Cosmic Voyage will also receive Glenfiddich red packets (available in limited quantities daily) and stand a chance to win exclusive discounts on the Glenfiddich Limited Edition 2022 Lunar New Year Packs comprising a bottle of Glenfiddich and two whisky glasses.
Admission is for ages 18 and above, until 30 January. Check out the details here.
250 Orchard Road
6513 1743 | designorchard.sg
Usher in the Year of the Tiger with a Prosperity Yu Sheng and Blissful Reunion Set Menu from SE7ENTH restaurant at Oakwood Premier AMTD Singapore from now until 15 February. Tuck into the tasty Yu Sheng consisting of smoked salmon, smoked snow fish and crispy fish skin topped with a refreshing strawberry-infused plum sauce to increase your appetite.
The Prosperity Yu Sheng is also available for pre-orders and comes in small platters (for four people) and large platters (for eight) at $48.80 and $78.80 respectively. Time to get your family the hearty and auspicious feast they deserve!
6 Shenton Way
6812 6050 | oakwood.com
Greenwood Fish Market
As Lo Hei season approaches, Greenwood Fish Market is primed and ready with the latest CNY offerings, with menus available for dine-ins, walk-in takeaways and online orders (islandwide delivery or self-collection).
From 28 January to 18 February, dine-in visitors can indulge in Yu Sheng featuring the likes of salmon and lobster, a Fortune Treasure Pot ”Pen Cai” for 3 to 4 people (Sentosa Exclusive), and the Prosperity Family Bundle for 6 to 8 people (Sentosa Exclusive).
Chinese New Year Takeaways are also available from 18 January to 18 February. Have fun with a build-your-own seafood Yu Sheng, and enjoy the return of the ever-popular Wellingtons (choose from Salmon or Beef Chateaubriand – a Bukit Timah exclusive) and an indulgent Langoustine Platter (also a Bukit Timah exclusive).
Browse the full festive menus here: greenwoodfishmarket.com.
Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre
Every year, Singapore celebrates Chinese New Year along with Chinese communities across the world. While some customs are consistent throughout the different regions, others are more country-specific. In “What Makes a Chinese New Year, Singaporean?” an exhibition by the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, you get to find out what makes our way of celebration uniquely local, and where our practices stemmed from.
Stop by different stalls to learn about the various “ingredients” that go into the making of a Singaporean CNY. Distinctive events and practices featured in the exhibition include festivities like River Hongbao and Chingay, goodies like pineapple tarts and love letters, and customs such as the giving of red packets and praying to the Jade Emperor.
The interactive exhibition takes place from 28 January to 15 February. For more event details, check out singaporeccc.org.sg.
One Raffles Place
Celebrate Chinese New Year at One Raffles Place with its prosperous program “Ushering in Spring Grandeur”. There are rewards on offer including $10 ORP e-vouchers and exclusive Ang Paos with a spend of $88. (T&Cs apply.)
Enjoy the exclusive WhatsApp sticker pack, with 10 distinctive stickers of festive greetings perfect for celebrating the Tiger Year. You can also join in the #TigerTogetherORP sticker puzzle contest and stand a chance to walk home with $88 in ORP e-vouchers.
Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts
Launched in 2003 by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay during the Chinese New Year, Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts was introduced as one of three annual cultural festivals at Esplanade celebrating Singapore’s multicultural heritage.
Huayi honours the works of outstanding Chinese artists of all genres by providing them with a platform on which they can present their works to local and international audiences.
This CNY, Huayi doesn’t disappoint with a wide range of performances for both kids and adults. From a tribute to a famous Chinese author, Read Sing Eileen Chang, to kids’ theatrical production Karung Guni Boy and dance film Dance en Scene, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
View the full line-up here: esplanade.com
Cloop Fashion Swap! is back with a bang for a Chinese New Year edition at Crane. Bring a minimum of five clean, good-condition pieces of women’s apparel to swap for up to 10 at $35. This simple activity allows you to get yourself something new at a low cost. Furthermore, part of the proceeds will be going to an adopted charity, so you can do good at the same time.
Come swap with a friend for $30 each. Sign up here: bit.ly/33S3yz1
46 Kim Yam Road
9826 9498 | wearecrane.com
Dos and Don’ts during the Lunar New Year
Tips from Master Clarice Chan’s Guide to 2022. The book is available online at her website.
- Make sure you say “Gong Xi Fa Cai” to wish friends and colleagues a prosperous New Year.
- Prepare food before New Year’s Day so that all sharp instruments such as knives and scissors can be put away. This avoids cutting the luck out of the New Year or severing any ties with family and friends.
- Refrain from using negative expressions or talking ill of others; it’s a time to promote joy and abundance.
- Don’t wash your hair on the first day of the Lunar New Year as hair has the same sound as the word fatt or fa, which means prosperity. Therefore, washing your hair will encourage any wealth and prosperity to be washed away. Clothes should not be washed on this day for the same reason.
- Colours are very important to the Chinese. Typically, only bright colours are considered auspicious, especially red and gold. White and black are generally associated with sad occasions such as funerals or illness, and are therefore considered unlucky or inauspicious.
- Gifts are not common except for Mandarin oranges, which are mandatory to offer to hosts when visiting during the first 15 days of the Lunar New Year.
- Unmarried adults and children receive “Hong Baos” or “Ang Pows” from married family members and friends. These red envelopes are filled with crisp new bills totalling an even amount of money. Odd numbers are not given during the celebrations.
Food and other preparations:
- Always use new Ang Pow packets.
- Always fill your Ang Pows with new banknotes.
- Have plenty of Mandarin oranges available.
- Use a circular candy tray.
- Keep some flowers, especially plum blossoms, peach blossoms and pussy willows. These symbolise happiness and good fortune.
- Wear new clothes and shoes.
- Clean your entire home and get rid of all clutter.
- Put away old brooms and brushes as they are considered to bring bad luck; new brooms and brushes are very important.
- Pay off as many of your debts as possible, if you have any.
- Resolve differences with family members, friends, neighbours and business associates.
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