SINGAPORE - The Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations 2017will see the addition of several new youth-oriented programmes to enhance and deepen engagement with the youth and young at heart for this year's celebrations.
This includes YouthEATS @ Temple Street (6-27 Jan), which will be part of the popular Festive Street Bazaar where 12 enterprising entrepreneurs, including youths, will set up shops offering a variety of popular and unique festive eats, and YHFLEA: Come Lepark edition (14 & 15 Jan), in collaboration with alternative social space, Lepark and online retailer, Young Hungry Free to organise a first-of-its-kind collective flea and car boot market with over 100 curated local brands and independent designers.
At YouthEATS @ Temple Street, expect to find tasty treats such as the braised duck Shabu Burger and Lucky Lucky Money Balls - meatballs with delicious melted, gooey cheese to represent gold - specially created for YouthEATS.
Those in search of unique finds can head to YHFLEA: Come Lepark edition for eclectic handmade crafts, stylish apparel, and locally-made items specially designed for this year's Chinese New Year Celebrations. There will also be local music performances. Held on the rooftop of People's Park Complex, visitors will be able to enjoy a bird's eye view of the annual Chinatown Street Light-Up.
Dr Lily Neo, Adviser to Jalan Besar GRC GRO (KRETA AYER - KIM SENG) said: "We hope to provide the Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations as a platform for youth to showcase their many talents through the introduction of new elements such as YouthEATS @ Temple Street this year. Each year, we also look forward to continuing partnerships, such as with the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) for the annual Street Light-Up, as well as welcoming onboard new partners such as Lepark. This helps us to continually evolve our programmes and keep our engagement efforts exciting and refreshing for our local and overseas visitors."
"The Chinese New Year Celebrations at Chinatown has always been an excellent showcase of the precinct's mix of heritage and dynamism, delighting locals and visitors alike with an extravaganza of lights and sounds. This year, various first time events are helping to renew traditions and further engaging the local community to foster a greater sense of affinity with Chinatown," said Mr Kenneth Lim, Director, Cultural Precincts Development, Singapore Tourism Board.
Organised by the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens' Consultative Committee (KA-KS CCC), this year's Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations is themed "Rise to Good Fortune and Prosperity". The seven-week celebrations will run from 7 Jan to 25 Feb 2017 and officially begins with the Official Light-Up and Opening Ceremony, which will be graced by His Excellency, President Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam as Guest of Honour.
Besides the participation of overseas acrobatic and music troupes, various local schools will also come together to present an evening of spectacular performances, including students from Bukit View, Bukit Panjang and Woodgrove Primary School, Victoria Dance School as well as Queenstown Secondary School.
Largest number of handcrafted lanterns for Chinatown Street Light-up
One of the most highly-anticipated events in Chinatown is the annual Street Light-Up for Chinese New Year where the heritage precinct comes alive in a spectacular show of lights. This year, the streets of Chinatown will be decorated with the largest number of lanterns ever made in Chinatown Festival history - with about 5,500 handcrafted lanterns to mark the Year of the Rooster. Environmentally friendly LED lights were also used in the making of the lanterns.
Designed in collaboration with 14 first and second-year students from SUTD, the Street Light-Up illustrates the life of the Rooster as it grows from a tiny hatchling to a mighty creature. Along the way, it learns important life values in different stages of its life, which is depicted through various lantern set pieces placed on the centre divider between New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street. This culminates in the centerpiece, a majestic giant Rooster lantern measuring 13 metres in height, perching proudly at the junction of Eu Tong Sen Street and Upper Cross Street.
Over at South Bridge Road, peach blossom flowers, trees and red lanterns adorn the stretch, each heralding wealth, prosperity and peace for the Lunar New Year. This is the sixth year that KA-KS CCC is partnering SUTD to design the Chinatown Chinese New Year Street Light-Up.
In addition, SUTD students have also designed a new tech wall that will screen festive greetings and well wishes sent in by the public. The "Huat Greetings Wall" will be placed on the Garden Bridge.
Rich line-up of festive and community events to usher in the New Year
Local and overseas visitors can also look forward to a rich line-up of traditional and cultural festivities suitable for the whole family.
A sold-out event each year, the International Lion Dance Competition, which is into its 10th year, will see 17 top lion dance troupes from 10 countries including new teams from Australia and Macau, meeting on the meihuazhuang (Plum Blossom Poles) as they fight for the ultimate title of "King of the Lions".
While crowds throng the 440-stall Festive Street Bazaar & Festive Carnival for their festive goodie shopping, visitors can also enjoy cultural musical and entertainment performances by local and overseas performers at the Nightly Stage Shows or soak in the history of Chinatown and learn about festive customs on the Chinatown Chinese New Year Walking Trail led by seasoned volunteer guides. This year, two groups will be joined by Mediacorp artistes Hong Ling and Jayley Woo.
KA-KS CCC will also organise community events to bring the community together while ushering in the Lunar Year. Following the success of the first Harmony Night last year, this year's event will be on a larger scale with 20 clan associations, religious groups and VWOs from Jalan Besar GRC putting together a memorable CNY gathering for 650 residents from Jalan Besar GRC that includes special performances celebrating different cultures, religions and dialect groups in Singapore. Another 1,000 participants, including underprivileged families and needy elderly from Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Constituency as well as volunteers, will enjoy an early Chinese New Year celebration at the Mass Reunion Dinner.
The Chinatown Heritage Centre (CHC) will also organise a series of CNY activities. Among them includes an exhibition, organised in collaboration with KA-KS CCC, on The Rooster Legend, and a Rooster Family Lantern Display for close-up photo moments with the Rooster lanterns from the Street Light-Up.
The festive atmosphere will culminate at the Chinatown Chinese New Year Countdown Party on 27 Jan featuring MediaCorp artistes and other performers in a live countdown show on Chinese New Year Eve. Rounding up this year's celebrations will be the Chingay 2017 @ Chinatown on 12 Feb.
Launch of Chinese New Year-themed train by LTA
To ring in the Year of the Rooster, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will launch a Chinese New Year-themed train on the North-East Line, in collaboration with SBS Transit and KA-KS CCC.
Commuters will be able to catch this festive ride decorated with rooster motifs, along with traditional Chinese couplets expressing well wishes for the new year, the inverted Chinese character of "Fortune", and gold coins to represent wealth and fortune, from 15 January until 11 February. In addition, this year's decoration will be extended to Outram Park MRT Station, where the station platform will be decked out in a similar theme.
Collaborating with the community to create themed trains and stations is part of LTA's efforts to improve the commuting experience and foster a positive commuter culture.