On 5 and 6 February this year, Singapore will commemorate the Year of the Pig. The event marks the start of a new year on the traditional Chinese (lunar) calendar. For regions with significant Chinese populations, the first day of the lunar new year is celebrated with a certain degree of pomp. Streets are lined with lanterns, and colourful processions lend the city a festive cheer. In multicultural Singapore, everyone is welcome to participate in and to experience the unique blend of traditional and contemporary festivities on offer.
Chinese New Year is the time for a fresh start. In the days leading up to the event, families conduct spring-cleaning to purge their homes of bad luck. Red becomes the colour du jour as it signifies prosperity and happiness. On the first day of the festivities, new clothes are worn and red packets containing money are handed out to children and unmarried relatives.
Year of the Pig
The Chinese zodiac is based on a twelve-year cycle, and each year is associated with an animal sign. 2019 is the Year of the Pig. According to mythology, the Jade Emperor, the ruler of all gods, hosted a race for animals to win a place in the zodiac calendar. Contrary to popular belief, the pig was a swift-moving animal. However, it fell asleep after a big meal and only trottered its way to the finish line after the rest of the party had arrived. Hence, the pig is the last animal in the Chinese zodiac.
We’re approaching the end of a 12-year cycle in 2019, and a flotilla of piggies have taken over the streets of Chinatown. Be sure to take a picture with them when you visit!
Chinese New Year Events in Singapore
Chinese New Year is without a doubt one of the biggest events on Singapore’s annual calendar. Each year, a Light-Up and Opening Ceremony will be held at Chinatown to officially kickstart the celebrations. Events such as walking trails and lion dance competitions are organised to accompany the main festivities. Join in the cheer at the annual River Hongbao running from 3-10 February and take in the spectacular fireworks display choreographed by artists from China, the USA, Italy and Australia!
The annual Chingay Parade will add a burst of colour and energy to the streets of Singapore. The parade has evolved into a celebration of global culture in recent years, with international groups invited to showcase their unique arts and performance cultures. This year’s event is even more special, as 2019 ties in with Singapore’s Bicentennial celebrations. Expect exclusively choreographed performances and displays to light up the night.