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Sassy Mama’s Guide to Chinese New Year 2016

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There’s so much to do with the kids this CNY!

Mischief may come to mind when we think of monkeys, but this Lunar New Year, the zodiac means nothing but wealth and intelligence! Kicking off the next 50 years of celebrations in Singapore, the streets are alive with eye-catching monkey-themed decorations, delicious traditional food and snacks, and plenty of carnivals to keep the kids busy. Have a blast during the holidays, and don’t forget to greet gong xi fa cai, mamas!


Chinatown Festivals

Immerse the family in traditional CNY culture with all the happenings in Chinatown! For a spot of festive shopping, browse the festive market stalls and bring the kids over to the carnival afterwards. The beautiful street decorations and lights will have you in awe, and if you’re a history buff, you’ll want to take in the sights with a guided walking trail.

Chinatown Street Light Up
The official light up and opening ceremony will be followed by 52 continuous days of street lights up along the streets of Chinatown. The light-up features rows of peach trees lining the streets of Chinatown and decorated with lovely monkeys hanging around — this is one of the most fun and playful layouts we’ve seen in years. Tradition and modern design come together to bring you a creative and contemporary street light-up design that’s sure to delight the kiddos.

When: Through Tuesday, 8 March 2016, 7pm – 2am on Fridays & Saturdays, 7pm – 12 midnight Sundays – Thursdays, and 7pm – 6am Sunday, 7 February 2016 & Monday, 8 February 2016
Where: Eu Tong Sen Street, New Bridge Road, South Bridge Road and Garden Bridge
How much: Free!

Festive street bazaar
With a variety of stalls lining up the streets of Chinatown, feast on mouth-watering New Year delicacies, enjoy the brilliant lights and decorations of the stalls and shop for the many New Year traditional goodies from decorations to apparel. There’s plenty to stock up on at this year’s bazaar, mama!

When: Through Sunday, 7 February 2016, 6pm – 10:30pm daily, 6pm – 1am on Chinese New Year’s Eve
Where: Pagoda Street, Smith Street, Sago Street, Temple Street and Trengganu Street
How much: Free!

Festive carnival
Once you’ve finished pounding the pavement, head over to the fun-filled carnival for rides, games and more good times for the little ones!

When: Through Sunday, 7 February 2016, 11am-10:30pm
Where: Open Space in front of People’s Park Complex
How much: Free!

Chinatown walking trail
Discover Chinatown’s heritage and culture in this free walking trail that covers Kreta Ayer Road, Sago Street, Pagoda Street and New Bridge Road. With “Year of Prosperity & Success” as the festival’s theme, embrace the countless photo ops as the streets in Chinatown will be decorated for the Festive Street Light-Up. Make a pit stop for festive goodies at the bustling Festive Street Bazaar and Carnival and enjoy nightly cultural shows at Kreta Ayer Square. Each trail is conducted in English and is limited to 10 participants.

When: Saturday, 30 January 2016 – Sunday, 31 January 2016, 3:30pm – 5pm
Where: Meeting point is at the Information Booth in front of the stage at Kreta Ayer Square
How much: Free! Registration is on first-come-first-serve basis, click here mama!


Chinatown Chinese New Year Countdown Party
Want to be surrounded by the festive cheer on CNY Eve? Usher in the Year of the Monkey with live performances and a rousing countdown celebration with MediaCorp artistes in the heart of Chinatown. Be entertained by the lively performances from a medley of festive songs, skits and interactive games as the countdown party culminates with lively firecrackers and a spectacular fireworks display!

When: Sunday, 7 February 2016, 9:30pm – 12:30am
Where: New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street
How much: Free!

Chinatown Wishing Trees
Make your New Year wishes come true at the Chinatown Wishing Tree! Write wishes for yourself and your loved ones on the “Make a Wish” cards and hang them on the banyan tree. Each wishing card costs $2 and all proceeds will be donated to the Kreta Ayer Seniors ‘ Activity Centre to help elderly folks in need.

When: Through Sunday, 7 February 2016, 11:00am – 9:00pm
Where: Chinatown Point, 133 New Bridge Road, Singapore 059413
How much: $2 donation


Nightly Stage Shows
Performances will be in full swing every night at Kreta Ayer Square during New Year celebrations. The popular gathering point for local Chinese communities during this time lives up to its deeply rooted affinity to Chinese culture, and is also the place where you can find the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum! Take a pit-stop from your festive shopping and be entertained by lively and vibrant Chinese cultural performances, festive songs, songs, music and dance performances by local entertainers and troupes hailing all the way from China.

When: Through Sunday, 7 February 2016, 8:00pm – 10:30pm
Where: Kreta Ayer Square
How much: Free!

Harmony Night
To promote community engagement and bonding in Jalan Besar GRC and Potong Pasir SMC, join in the fun if you’re a resident as everyone comes together to celebrate Lunar New Year. The event will also be inviting the clan associations, religious groups and Voluntary Welfare Organisation around the Chinatown precinct to join in the celebrations.

When: Saturday, 30 January 2016, 6:30pm – 10:30pm
Where: Hong Lim Park
How much: Free!

Chingay Parade

To mark the first year of Singapore’s next 50 birthdays, Chingay 2016 is aptly themed Lights of Legacy, Brighter Singapore! Get your tickets to this world-class spectacle as it boasts exciting highlights that include electrifying international performances, the signature colourful multi-ethnic songs and dancing, dazzling floats and costumes, and breathtaking aerial acts all culminating with a spectacular fireworks display.

When: Friday, 19 February 2016 – Saturday, 20 February 2016, 8pm
Where: F1 Pit Building, 1 Republic Boulevard, Singapore 038975
How much: $28.50-$60. Get your tickets here!


Chinese New Year Plant Bazaar

Head over to Big Box for a huge offering of festive flowers and potted plants mama! This CNY, your humble home will be filled with oriental blooms and fruits that will have the whole family talking. Big Box is also home to all your homeware and kitchen needs, so a great 3-in-1 visit is definitely due!

When: Through 29 January 2016, 10am – 10pm
Where: Big Box, 1 Venture Avenue, Singapore 608521
How much: Free!

Talk: Chinese New Year Customs & Taboos

Many traditional Chinese New Year customs are still practised by Singaporeans to this day, such as well-wishes for one another, food culture and the dos and don’ts during Chinese New Year. All these practices can be unique to the various dialect groups in Singapore, but do you know which customs are for which dialect group? Join this lively discussion with speaker Kuan Eng, the author of a series of dialect pictorial books, who will also present live illustrations of various items associated with Chinese New Year.

When: Saturday, 30 January 2016, 2pm – 3:30pm
Where: National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897
How much: Free! Register to [email protected] with your name and contact number, mama!


Gardens by the Bay

Ring in the Year of the Monkey with a brand-new floral display inspired by the Chinese classical tale, Journey to the West. Stroll through a stunning landscape of dahlias, begonias and other exquisite blooms against the Flower Dome’s iconic backdrop of a 7-metre-tall mountain. Dahlia Dreams brings to mind the mythical Flowers and Fruit Mountain (where the legendary Monkey King was said to be born), as well as the Water Curtain Cave that was described in the novel. Look out for monkey-shaped topiaries as you stroll through a cavern with unexpected surprises in this floral display infused with elements of Chinese arts and culture.

When: Through Sunday, 28 February 2016, 9am-9pm
Where: Flower Dome, Gardens By The Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953
How much: Kids and senior citizens start at $8, adults $12.

Huayi Chinese Festival of Arts

You’re in for a treat at this year’s Huayi Chinese Festival of Arts mama! Local and international production and theatre troupes alike have gathered to showcase over 10 days at the Esplanade. God of Carnage by Dionysus Contemporary Theatre features Golden Horse Award winner Anthony Wong and popular television actress Louisa So. GuoGuang Opera Company (Taiwan) brings you One Hundred Years on Stage, a theatre production that traces the journey of Peking Opera over a century. Emerging Chinese theatre director Huang Ying presents Macbeth, a satirical presentation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy. Catch all the enthralling performances this February with all the details below!

When: Friday, 12 February 2016 – Sunday, 21 February 2016
Where: The Esplanade Theatres by the Bay, 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981
How much: Mix of free and ticketed events. For full details and tickets, click here!


River Hongbao Carnival

River Hongbao’s 30th Anniversary at Singapore’s iconic floating platform packs a punch this CNY! 2016 is a significant chapter for River Hongbao, and in this auspicious and jubilant period, RHB 2016 has lined up 9 days of fun-filled extravaganza of lights, sights and sounds to celebrate this momentous milestone.

When: Saturday, 6 February 2016 – Sunday, 14 February 2016
Where: The Float @ Marina Bay, 20 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039805
How much: Free!

Sentosa Spring Festival

If you’re not jetting off this CNY, don’t fret! Instead, make your way to Sentosa to enjoy an action-packed mini getaway at the Spring festival! Enjoy lion dancing, stunt performers, acrobats, live music and more while soaking up the sun, sand and surf!

When: Monday, 1 February 2016 – Thursday, 31 March 2016
Where: Sentosa, Singapore
How much: Free!


Wildlife Reserves Singapore

The Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo and River Safari have all the CNY festivities lined up this Lunar New Year weekend! Get a chance to see the zodiac animal up close and personal, watch lion dance performances at all the reserves, catch some pandas handing out ang baos…the fun doesn’t end when you’ve got all the animals’ antics to keep you occupied!

When: Saturday, 6 February 2016 – Tuesday, 9 February 2016, 8.30am-6pm
Where: Singapore Zoo, 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826
How much: Kids $14.70 Adults $22.40

Lead image sourced via Big Box. Image #1 via The Straits Times, Photo: LIM SIN THAI; Image #2 and #3 sourced via Chinatown Festivals. All other images sourced via respective websites and Facebook pages.

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