First Ever Hybrid Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations 2021

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The Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations 2021 (2021 年牛车水农历新年庆祝活动) will be a festive affair with a new hybrid event that will bring the culture and traditions of the festival into the homes of local and international audiences, while welcoming the year of the Ox with Chinatown’s iconic Street Light-Up.  

Themed “Usher in Good Health, Prosperity, and Happiness (竹报平安除旧岁 , 金牛迎春好运来)”, the Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations 2021 will kick off with the Official Light-up and Opening Ceremony on 23 January 2021. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the closed-door ceremony will be streamed live online from the Kreta Ayer People’s Theatre, where Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, Host Adviser Mrs Josephine Teo, who is also Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs, as well as fellow Advisers to Jalan Besar GRC Grassroots Organisations (GROs) will be in attendance.  Viewers can watch the ceremony live on Chinatown Festivals’ official Facebook page on 23 January, 8pm.  

The event is organised by Kreta Ayer – Kim Seng Citizens’ Consultative Committee and supported by Singapore Tourism Board.  

Beacon of Festivity 

Stretching 880 metres with 888 lantern pieces, this year’s Street Light-Up features an auspicious 88 ox lanterns along Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road “grazing” beside meaningful new year symbols such as pomelos, blossom trees and ingots, that signify good health, prosperity, and longevity. South Bridge Road will also be adorned with lanterns of the twelve zodiac animals, arranged in the order that they completed the Great Zodiac Race. 

The highlight of this year’s lantern display is a towering 10-metre-tall oxen centrepiece located opposite Chinatown Point. The centrepiece depicts a large golden ox standing atop gold coins and ingots to symbolise fortune and prosperity, while the riverbank and water wheel next to the ox represents the flow of wealth and fortune, and the hope for a smooth-sailing year ahead. The streets of Chinatown will be aglow till 12 March.  

This year’s Street Light-Up concept was designed in collaboration with students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

All images credit to Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations 2021 

Bringing the Festive Celebrations to Home 

The Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations will continue to bring festive cheer to local and international audiences – into the comfort of their homes. A slew of online activities, short films, and virtual tours will let local and international visitors experience Chinatown and its heritage and learn about the origins of Chinese New Year traditions.  

Walk through the streets of Chinatown virtually with a 360 Virtual Tour of this year’s Street Light-Up or enjoy a virtual Heritage Tour by volunteer guides from the festival volunteer team as they share the culture and heritage of this historic precinct. More information can be found on the Chinatown Festivals website (https://chinatownfestivals.sg), Facebook and Instagram pages. 

The storytelling continues with three specially produced short films featuring renowned local heritage brands in Chinatown – Bee Cheng Hiang, Kele and Spring Court. Go on a mouth-watering journey that follows the origins, traditions, and passion behind Chinese New Year delicacies such as bak kwa, pineapple tarts and traditional double-boiled bird’s nest with whole chicken. There will also be an online photo collage activity for some family-bonding fun as visitors are encouraged to submit photos of themselves re-creating old photos of yesteryear.  

Mr Vincent Tan, BBM, Chairman, Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations 2021 Organising Committee (牛车水农历新年庆祝活动筹委会主席,陈祖坤先生 BBM) said, “It is important that we continue to celebrate Chinese New Year, bring cheer, and showcase the vibrant traditions of the festival while adhering to safe management measures. Even though events such as the Festive Street Bazaar and Countdown Party had to be cancelled to minimise crowds, visitors can still enjoy the colours, sights and sounds of Chinatown with their family and loved ones from the comfort of their homes with the hybrid line-up of programmes this year.” 

Ms Serene Tan, Director, Arts and Cultural Precincts, Singapore Tourism Board (新加坡旅游局艺术与文化景区,体验发展司署长,陈俏潓女士) said, “We are pleased to usher in the Year of the Ox with the Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations 2021. The new hybrid format promises a safe and refreshing experience for everyone, no matter their age or interest, and we hope that locals and overseas audiences will explore and rediscover Singapore’s rich Lunar New Year heritage and traditions.”  

The Chinatown Festivals Committee welcomes all locals to join in this special celebration. Event-goers visiting the Street Light-Up are reminded to observe safe management measures – such as wearing masks at all times, ensuring groups of no more than eight people, and maintaining 1m distance from other individuals/groups – while enjoying the festive decorations in Chinatown.  

For more information on these activities, members of the public can call Kreta Ayer Community Club at 6222 3597 or email info@chinatownfestivals.sg 

Update on 5 February 2021:

The 360 Virtual Tour of Chinatown’s Street Light-Up is now live! Members of the public can enjoy the sights and sounds of Chinatown from the comfort and safety of their own homes and get up close and personal with the 10-metre Ox centrepiece located right outside Chinatown point.

For more festive cheer, three short films on Spring Court, Bee Cheng Hiang (14 Feb) and Kele (28 Feb) will be shown on Chinatown Festival’s Facebook Page and there will be an upcoming virtual heritage tour by volunteer guides to share the culture and heritage of Chinatown!

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