Singapore welcomes the Chinese New Year with much fanfare. Albeit, officially, a three-day celebration, the country makes merry weeks before and even for weeks after the fact, serving up everything from food bazaars to glitzy firework shows by the marina.
It’s common to find the streets a blitz of activity during this time. The locus of the celebrations occurs, unsurprisingly, in Chinatown, where pop-up markets duke out food, ornaments, gifts, and crafts from hundreds of stalls. Art and culture too inform and enrich the New Year fervor with Huayi Festival, two weeks chocked full of theater, opera, music, and art shows at The Esplanade at Marina Bay.
In between parties, dinners, and shopping, Chinese families attend to long-held traditions. Sweeping and dusting the home before the New Year is a must to banish bad luck from the premises; painting the windows and front door red ushers in good fortune in the year ahead.
The festivities extend well beyond Singapore’s Chinese contingent. A fervently multicultural nation, Singapore marvels as one at the annual Chingay Parade, a lavish tradition that dates back to the ‘70s. Held on the eighth day of the new year, Chingay regales a crowd of almost 200,000 with 11,000 performers — stilt-walkers, fire-eaters, dancing dragons, lion troupe dancers, magicians, and stunning floats — that represent 150 organizations, among which Singapore’s ethnic communities take part.
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For other traditional Chinese New Year celebrations, you might want to check out Indonesia’s Ca Go Meh Festival in Singkawang, Indonesia and Tet Nguyen Dan in Vietnam. For other festivals in the month of January, visit the Sinulog Festival, also in the Philippines; Myanmar’s Kachin Manaw Festival; and Cambodia’s Paddy Art Festival.