One of the most important Chinese festivals is the Chinese Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year for short. While this means a time to visit and catch up with family and relatives, it also means a nice early 2 day public holiday early in the year for most here in Singapore. For some it also means the yearly pilgrimage to Chinatown to soak in the sights and sounds and do some Chinese New Year shopping. This year, Kenneth and Ken brave the crowd to head down to the Chinese New Year Street Bazaar at Chinatown to check out what’s in store for visitors this year.
For those planning to head down to Chinatown to check out the Chinese New Year festivities, it is highly suggested to take the MRT down via the North East Line or the Downtown Line (Purple and Blue respectively). This will not only save you the trouble of navigating through the crazy traffic especially in the later part of the day but also with the parking as it can be a nightmare finding a lot closer to Chinese New Year itself.
Once out of the MRT station, the first sight to greet you is the shops selling all sorts of Chinese New Year ornaments. Coming in all shapes and sizes, there range from calligraphy, lanterns and Chinese symbols in bright colours such as red and gold. Those looking to decorate their house this Chinese New Year will be spoilt for choice.
With the Chinese Zodiac cycle, this coming Chinese New year will be the year of the Monkey as seen by all sort of Monkey items. From lanterns with Monkey prints to Monkey soft toys, even if you are not familiar with the Zodiac cycle, looking at the items on sale will definitely give you an obvious hint.
For those just out to soak in the atmosphere and capture some photos for social media, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum would be the best place to head towards in the evening. That’s when the lights come one and make nice backdrops for that Instagram moment. Just remember to bring a flash or an external light (another handphone’s light would be more than enough) if possible else you will either get dark faces or overexposed background.
Another reason to head to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum is the stage area next to it. With nightly programs to celebrate the Chinese New Year till the 7th of February 2016, be sure to be early to get a seat else be prepared to stand as there is usually a crowd each performance night.
Those looking to bring home something edible will also be happy to know that there are many stores at the Chinese New Year Street Bazaar selling your popular Chinese New Year goodies. From pineapple tarts, sweets and candies to the more savory “Lap Cheong” or Chinese sausage, there are many stores along the roadside to cater for these purchases.
The final stop that everyone visiting during the Chinese New Year Period shouldn’t miss is the junction between Chinatown Point Shopping Centre and the Yue Hwa Building. This shouldn’t be hard to find as one of the MRT exits out to Chinatown Mall. Here at the junction is the center piece display of monkey shaped Lanterns playing around a big tree. A “must shoot” photo spot, do remember to watch for traffic when crossing the road and stay within the pedestrian zone. Traffic can get heavy at night so remember its better to come home with a slightly off composed photo than a perfect photo but not come home at all.
All these are the efforts of the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens’ Consultative Committee (KA-KS CCC) who have done a good job again this year. Not forgetting the final-year students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) who are responsible for the 2,668 handcrafted lanterns in the shape of monkeys, peaches, spring blossoms and gold zodiac coins, this year’s Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations 2016 looks to be another memorable one.
© POPCulture Online 2016