Chinatown is always the epicenter of Chinese New Year in Singapore, but this year, get ready for some really great activities and extra-special treats. There’s a lot going on in the district, so we’ve broken it down to help you decide what you want to do leading up to the Year of the Rooster.
The massive street lights and installations
Every year, the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens’ Consultative Committee come up with a slightly overachieving display of lights that best represent the zodiac animal of the year. This year is no different, obviously, and they’ve teamed up with students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) to come up with 5,500 hand-made lanterns—a new record in the history of the Chinatown Festivals—combined with various set pieces that reflect various values that has to do with roosters such as filial piety and the saying, “The early bird catches the worm”.
When: Now till Jan 25. 7pm-12am (Sun-Thur), 7pm-2am (Fri-Sat), 7pm-6am (Jan 27-28)
Where: Eu Tong Sen St., New Bridge Rd., South Bridge Rd. and Garden Bridge
Shopping at the Festive Street Bazaar
Ahh, the mad dash at the one-stop shopping area to get all things Chinese New Year. This year, walk through the five streets that make up the Chinatown district and check all the 440 stalls selling festive delicacies and traditional goodies like pineapple tarts, love letters and more, decorative items like paper lanterns with Chinese sayings and CNY greetings on them, both traditional and modern qipaos and changshan and so much more. Just keep your belongings close to you because it can get super crowded. Apart from the restaurants lining the streets and hawker stalls, stay energized and get some grub at the YouthEats area, where 12 entrepreneurs and youths have prepared their take on festive goodies.
When: Jan 6-27. 6pm-10:30pm (Daily), 6pm-1am (CNY Eve)
Where: Pagoda St., Smith St., Sago St., Temple St. and Trengganu St.
Lion dancing competitions
Not real ones, of course. 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the International Lion Dance Competition, an event that’s highly anticipated by all walks of life and is sold out every year. This year, 17 troupes from 10 countries, including Australia, Indonesia and Macau, showcase their prowess and stunts on the meihuazhuang to fight for the “Kings of the Lions” title.
When: Jan 14-15. 6:30pm-10:30pm (Single day ticket, $10; Both days ticket, $15)
Where: Carpark at Banda St. (off Sago Ln.)
Rooftop flea market
People’s Park Complex. Photo credit: Flickr user Nicolas Lannuzel
Head over to Singapore’s most popular rooftop at People’s Park Complex for the Lepark Edition of YHFlea. If you’re in the midst of shopping for the coming Chinese New Year, this collective flea market will see more than 100 curated local brands and indie designers such as BooksActually, oh!eaf, Visual Mass, Naked & Unbound and more, across three different segments—the Brands Only Market, Car Boot Sale and Flea Trade Zone—for you to go crazy over.
When: Jan 14-15. 12pm-8pm
Where: Lepark (#06-00 People’s Park Complex, 1 Park Rd.)
A crash course on the history of Singapore’s Chinatown district
History buffs should go on this special, complimentary walking trail. Go head-first and nose-deep into the heritage and culture of the Chinese enclave on the guided walking tour and learn about the stories and secrets that streets like Kreta Ayer Road, Sago Street, Pagoda Street and New Bridge Road hold way even before your parents were in nappies while soaking in all the CNY goodness. Pre-registration is required and slots are located on first-come-first-serve basis.
When: Jan 8, 14, 15, 21 & 22. 3:30pm-5pm
Where: Information booth at Kreta Ayer Square (meeting point)