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Sassy Mama Guide to Chinese New Year Celebrations in Singapore 2014

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Gong Xi Fa Cai! How lucky are we in Singapore that we get to ring in not one, but two new years (and to benefit from all the revelry and time off work that goes hand in hand with a big holiday!)? While many choose to stretch that vacation time by heading overseas, for those of us staying in the Little Red Dot, there’s plenty to enjoy right here, and if you’ve got kids, all the better! Here’s our look at What’s On for Families during Chinese New Year in Singapore.

Family Days Out

chinatown lunar new year

Festive Street Bazaar
With a variety of market stalls for families to browse, and an endless array of mouth-watering New Year delicacies to munch on, take the kids to Chinatown for the daily Festive Street Bazaar. See the lights, shop for decorations and stock up on New Year goodies whilst you’re there (you’ll be able to pick up everything from cookies, to potted plants and even preserved fruits!).

When: 10 January to 30 January 2014
Time: 6am – 10:30pm, 6pm – 1am (Chinese New Year’s Eve)
Where: Pagoda Street, Smith Street, Sago Street, Temple Street and Trengganu Street, Chinatown, Singapore

 

Chinatown Wishing Tree
Gather around the lucky banyan tree in Chinatown and make your (and your wee ones!) New Year wishes come true! Write your wishes down on a card, tie it to a mandarin orange, and throw it into the wishing tree – if it stays on the tree, it is said that your wish will come true! Join in the festive fun, and make your best wish for the new year come to life.

When: 7 January to 14 February 2014
Time: 11am – 9pm
Where: Chinatown Point, 133 New Bridge Road, Singapore 059413

festival

Chinese New Year Street Light-up
Take the kiddos to Chinatown to check out the 88 grand lantern sculptures on display! Let the charming lanterns light up your night as you wander down Eu Tong Sen Street, New Bridge Road, South Bridge Road and Garden Bridge. This beautiful exhibition, set up to celebrate the Year of the Horse, is sure to bring some festive joy to you and your fam!

When: 11 January to 28 February 2014
Time: Fri to Sat 7pm – 2am, Sun to Thu 7pm – 12am
Where: Eu Tong Sen Street, New Bridge Road, South Bridge Road and Garden Bridge, Singapore

 

CNY at Singapore Zoo
Head to the Zoo to see the New Year decorations, and keep the kids busy with their array of entertainment options. From heart-thumping lion dance performances to the “zoo-diac” trail, the discovery booth, and the Falabellas parade, there’s plenty to keep kids happy over the long weekend.

When: 30 January to 3 February 2014
Time: Open daily from 8:30am. Lion dance performances at 10am and 2pm at the entrance plaza.
Where: Singapore Zoo, 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826

gardens by the bay CNY

CNY Floral Display
Head to Gardens by the Bay to see their newest floral display — it’s a flowery celebration of the Year of the Horse! Bringing an auspicious and prosperous start to the New Year, and with a myriad of colourful blooms and horse sculptures to keep little ones enthralled, a visit to the Flower Dome is a must over the holiday weekend.

When: 20 January to 16 February 2014
Time: 9am – 9pm
Where: Flower Dome, Gardens By The Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953

 

Lunar New Year at Resorts World Sentosa
Celebrate the Lunar New Year with a fun festive atmosphere at Resorts World Sentosa. With over 3,888 custom-made lanterns lighting up the resort throughout the holiday, auspicious decorations around for curious little ones to discover, and lantern horses and seashorses bringing good health and prosperity, it’s a lovely time to visit with the fam! Just don’t miss out on the big Hong Bao (red packet) giveaway happening at all the main attractions!

When: 15 January to 14 February 2014
Time: Opens daily from 10am
Where: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Sentosa Island, Singapore 098269

 

Sentosa Celebrates Lunar New Year
Gallop into the Year of the Horse with Sentosa’s range of New Year activities, including acrobatic performances, Dragon Dances, live music and fire twirling acts (amongst many more fringe activities). Bring the kiddos down over the long weekend to watch the Zhengzhou Star Acrobatics Troupe performances (what’s not to love about watching acrobats fly through the air?) or make a bee line for the Lion Dancers who’ll be dancing to the beat of their drum at 2pm, 4:30pm and 6pm on 31 January, 1st and 2nd February (extra performance at 8pm on the 2nd at Merlion Plaza).

Where: Merlion Plaza to Beach Station, Sentosa, Singapore
When: 31 January to 2 February 2014
Time: 11:30am to 9:30pm daily

 

The Main Event – Carnivals and Festivals

chinatown

Chinatown New Year’s Eve Party
Keep the big kids up late to usher in the New Year with live performances, festive songs, interactive games and a rousing countdown that ends with firecrackers and a fireworks display. Happy New Year!

When: 30 January 2014
Time: 9.30pm – 12.30am
Where: New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street, Chinatown, Singapore

 

River Hongbao
As one of Singapore’s most popular New Year celebrations, River Hongbao (at the Floating Platform at Marina Bay) is a celebration of Chinese culture, with an 11-day festival in celebration of the Year of the Horse. This free admission event is a must visit with the kiddos, with lantern displays, live performances, Chinese handicrafts, local food delicacies, as well as amusement rides, carnival games and Main Stage performances that will keep the little (and big) kids happy! Pssst! Get there early and secure your spot to see the fireworks over Marina Bay!

When: 29 January to 8 February 2014
Time: 12pm – 11:30pm, 12pm – 1am (on 30 January only)
Where: The Float @ Marina Bay, 20 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039805

chingayparade

Chingay Parade
The grand dame of street carnivals, the annual Chingay Parade is one of Singapore’s most popular and most exciting Lunar New Year celebrations, with colourful floats, live stage performances, a 4-metre tall animated puppet, as well as fire-eaters, magicians and dance acts. This is one fun-filled family event that is sure to impress young audiences (just leave the teeny tinies at home in bed!).

Where: F1 Pit Building, 1 Republic Boulevard, Singapore 038975
When: 7 and 8 February 2014
Time: 8pm
Price: $28.50 – $50 

 

Huayi Festival
Not far away at the Esplanade, the yearly Huayi Festival showcases contemporary and traditional Chinese arts, with opera performances, theatre productions and traditional music. Your big kids will learn about Chinese culture and tradition and leave with more prosperity and luck for the coming year.

When: 6 to 16 February 2014
Where: Esplanade Theatre, 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981
Time: Times vary — see website for times

 

Eating

Of course, up there on the list of things to do this Lunar New Year is gathering the family together to eat! Pretty much every restaurant in town will have something happening for CNY, so here’s just a selection of the places that are on the Sassy Mama menu for a festive feast or some take-home goodies!

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Violet Oon’s Kitchen is bringing back Treasured Memories of New Years Past with take-home party trays of traditional Nyonya favourites like Rebong Masak Lemak and Sambal Udang, as well as a range of New Year goodies, including Home Made Pineapple Tarts with Cognac, Cashew Nut Cookies, Peanut Cookies, Almond Cookies, and well loved snacks like Hay Bee Hiam and Spicy Ikan Bilis with Peanut. Yes please!

If you fancy a meal out with the fam (and you’re looking for somewhere really fancy to go) try Petite Menu at the Aqueen Hotel. With a range of unique three or four course set lunches and dinners, expect delights like “Prosperity” Salmon Salad, “Success” Roasted Duck Soup and “Harmony” Sweet and Sour Chicken Roulade.

From unique festive bites to meticulously planned set menus, Peony Jade is celebrating the New Year with style at their Keppel Club and Clarke Quay locations. The perfect place for a reunion dinner with family and friends, remember to call ahead to book your table mama!

We can barely resist the Stroobant Group of fam-friendly dining spots, and this year you can herald in the Year of the Horse at Brussels Sprouts, Picotin Express and Sque Rotisserie & Alehouse with ease. Eat, drink and be merry with “Abundance” Prosperity Platters at Sque, or chow down on Belgian inspired Yu Sheng at Brussel Sprouts.

Blue Lotus, the fabbo Chinese Eatery at Quayside Isle, is celebrating the New Year with their Chinese New Year set menus (their menus represent nothing less than Happiness, Fortune, Longevity and Prosperity for the coming year!). It’s also the perfect spot for a post-meal wander along the boardwalk with the kids.

Debuting an a la carte menu created by Executive Chef Peter Rollinson, The Halia has New Year eating covered with an auspicious order of Halia Yusheng, Jurong Farm Frog ‘porridge’ and lots more! The perfect dining spot for Tanglin mamas, get in quick to reserve your table!

Bakerzin CNY Assorted Pineapple Tarts

Want to get your hands on some freshly baked Yuan Bao pineapple tarts and other sweet treats? Head to Bakerzin to stock up on beautifully presented New Year goodies (your hardest decision will be whether to keep them or give them away to friends!).

If a sweet treat is on your radar, kiddie favourite Swensen’s has you covered with their time-honoured festive dish… Fortune Yu Sheng. A mix of flavours and ingredients (and a healthy dash of “Prosperity Sauce”) this unusual concoction is sure to be a winner!

 

Shopping

not too big cny outfits

If your little ones need to look the part, hurry down to Not Too Big to pick up your oh-so-cute cheongsams for girls and mandarin collar shirts for boys! An eclectic mix of the orient (with a healthy splash of playfulness) these gorgeous pieces are perfect for Chinese New Year (and look super cool too!).

Online store babylicious has a nice little selection of organic cotton t-shirts for girls — complete with a horse on it. These cute-as-a-button tops are the perfect festive touch for your daughter’s New Year celebration.

Gong Xi Fa Cai, Mamas!

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