Thursday, 26 January 2012

Chinese New Year

Since our arrival to Singapore, there have been various events across the city to mark the build up to the Chinese New Year on 24th January, ranging from the nightly Chinatown street market and the surrounding streets decked with bright and colourful dragon-themed decorations, to a floating venue on the River Hongbao.  Each year is determined by a different animal used in the Chinese zodiac (12 in total) with one of 5 different earthly elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. 2012 is the year of the water dragon. 

Having spent most of our time on Pagoda Street in Chinatown, we decided to venture down to The Float at Marina Bay to experience some of the traditional Chinese festivities, with the stunning Marina Bay skyline as a backdrop. On display throughout were gigantic handcrafted lanterns in the form of dragons and all the other animals of the Chinese zodiac. Venturing back into the heart of Chinatown, we hoped to catch the fireworks display before midnight, however, the streets around Chinatown became impossible to navigate due to the shear number of people out welcoming in the new year. In the end we gave up and went back to our hostel to try and catch a glimpse of the fireworks from our dorm window, which was a bit of a shame as apparently Chinese New Year is the only time of the year when you can see firecrackers being set off in Singapore. However, in typical fashion, out of nowhere came a torrential downpour only minutes from midnight, so in a funny way we were better off missing the fireworks! 

View down Trengganu Street
Pagoda Street at night with the Chinatown Market

Chinese New Year decorations down New Bridge Road

Unsurprisingly the streets around Chinatown the next day were very quiet...

Chinese New Year is celebrated in a number of countries and territories with significant Chinese
populations, such as China (obviously), as well as Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and also in cities which have Chinatowns elsewhere - pictures of  some of the other lunar new year celebrations around the world can be viewed here.

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