After just getting over one New Year celebrations, it’s Chinese New Year these weekend, the most important traditional Chinese holiday, based on the lunar calendar. It is a HUGE celebration in Singapore, not surprising given that it is a nation with an ethnic Chinese majority. Preparations start a few weeks before Lunar New Year’s Day and celebrations continue until the 15th day of the lunar month.
People clean their houses, get a hair cut, buy new clothes, go food shopping and give out red Ang Pow/Hong Bao (envelopes containing money). Everything from decorations to clothes to money packets has to be in red. Red is seen as a lucky colour, because legend has it that a village was once plagued by a terrifying dragon, and the villagers drove it away by hanging red swaths of cloth and setting off firecrackers. You can read more about different traditions on the Yahoo blog
We’d just arrived here, last Chinese New Year, and being a bit wet behind the ears, we got it wrong completely and went to China Town on New Year’s Day. It was deserted, everyone having shut up shop for the day to be with their families. This year, a bit more clued up, we’ve already been. We got there about 6pm and it was crazy. Red and yellow colours everywhere, giant paper pineapple decorations, millions of people jamming the streets, in a shopping frenzy. Thank god we didn’t take the stroller or children.
It’s a great atmosphere here at the moment and there’s lots to do for the family. There’s the Chingay Parade, featuring its first ever water parade; the River Hongbao festival which we’re going to; Sentosa Flowers showcasing thousands of tropical and spring flowers; Istana open house, where the President’s official residence is opened to the public; there are things on Jurong Bird Park and Singapore Zoo and Miss C is looking forward to watching some Dragon dancing somewhere.
Kung Hei Fat Choi!