9 Things To Do To Celebrate Chinese New Year 2021

Pic credit: Gardens by the Bay

The Chinese New Year period is upon us again, and although things may not feel as festive as they usually do due to the ongoing pandemic, there are still plenty to celebrate this 2021! While many families in Singapore are still opting to celebrate the Lunar New Year with safe distancing measures in place, some might be looking for new and safer ways to usher in the Year of the Ox.

Not sure HUAT to do this Chinese New Year? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! From flower displays to lantern light-ups and even virtual events, here are 9 things you can do this Lunar New Year in Singapore!

Virtual Events:

1. Chingay 2021

Pic credit: Chingay

While most large scale events have been cancelled this year due to COVID-19, Chingay is continuing with its annual Lunar New Year celebrations!

One of Singapore’s biggest parades, Chingay is back for another rendition, although this time, most of it will be held online. The festivities have already begun, with a slew of activities held across the island. Themed “Light of Hope”, this year’s line-up includes a chance for members of the public to design their own “stylo” costume and Chingay float, as well as a dance competition.

The highlight of the event will be the parade itself that will be broadcasted on television, social media as well as on the event’s social media channels to keep the event accessible to all. One of the highlights of this year’s parade is the lion dance performance, which includes troupes from over 10 different cities.

Although some are sad that this year’s event will be held online instead, this gives organisers a chance to make use of technology to create performances that have never been seen at physical parades. This also allows the public to be a part of the parade, as video submissions showing off your singing and dancing skills are welcome. For more details on this year’s Chingay as well as any offline activities, please refer to their website.

Chingay 2021 (Light of Hope)

Date: 20 Feb, 8PM-9PM

Location: Home (Parade will be broadcasted on TV and various social media platforms)

Price: FREE

2. Chinese New Year Chinatown Virtual Tour

It is not Chinese New Year without a trip to the bustling precinct of Chinatown! However, with strict social distancing measures in place this year, many have decided to skip the trip this year. If you are still looking for a way to visit the area safely, sign up for the Chinese New Year Chinatown Virtual Tour!

This special Chinese New Year virtual tour lets you explore the bustling area of Chinatown right from your home, as a ‘live’ guide will take you through the elements of culture, street art and history that this precinct holds. Marvel at the festive decorations as you visit some of Singapore’s most iconic temples, and you will even get a chance to to get a peek at one of the last wells left in Singapore!

Not only will you get to learn more about the dark history behind this cultural precinct, but you will also stand a chance to win $250 worth of attractive prizes, including a pair of tickets to the Southern Islands Discovery Sunset Sail worth $100! The virtual tour makes use of interactive game elements as part of its story-telling, and the more participative you are, the higher your chance of winning a prize.

This special festive-edition of the Chinatown virtual tour is not to be missed, so make sure you book your tickets today to enjoy early bird pricing! For more details on the event or to book your tickets, please click here.

Chinese New Year Chinatown Virtual Tour

Date: 20 Feb, 10:30AM-12PM

Location: Home (Tour will be conducted via Zoom)

Price: $5 for early birds (Book now till 13 Feb), $8 for purchases made after 13 Feb

Physical Events:

3. River Hongbao 2021

Pic credit: River Hongbao

One of the most well-known Chinese New Year events in Singapore, River Hongbao is back for another edition this year! While activities such as student-led tours and fireworks are missing this year, much of the festivities continue.

Held at Gardens By The Bay this year, the event will offer a variety of physical and virtual events. The physical event showcases 24 giant lanterns including the 12 zodiac animals and even an 18m-tall Cai Shen Ye (God of Fortune). Other onsite offerings include an exhibition on the history of Lion Dance, including artefacts that date back to the 1950s!

The online section of the event includes pre-recorded performances such as the lion dance and getai performances, as live performances are not allowed on-site due to safe distancing measures. Other online offerings include games as well as a virtual well, where contributions will be donated to charity.

For those who wish to check out the lantern display in person, please note that you will be required to book a time slot online before heading down. Time slots on weekdays are 90-minutes long, while slots on the weekend last for 120-minutes.

Click here for more details on River Hongbao 2021!

River Hongbao 2021

Date: 10-16 February, 2PM onwards

Location: Gardens by the Bay (18 Marina Gardens Drive)

Price: FREE

4. Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations

Pic credit: Shin Min Daily News

Another well-known Chinese New Year event is the Chinatown Light-Up, which features lanterns that light up at night across the precinct!

The theme for this year’s event is “Usher in Good Health, Prosperity and Happiness”, and the 880m light-up will feature 888 lanterns including the 12 zodiac animals, ingots and blossom trees. The centrepiece of the light-up can be found opposite Chinatown Point, and is made up of a 10m tall golden ox surrounded by gold coins and ingots. This is also the 10th year that SUTD students have helped design the lanterns.

While the main highlight of the event has continued despite COVID-19 restrictions, other festivities such as the Festive Street Bazaar and Countdown Party have been cancelled. In place, short films about Chinese New Year delicacies will be streamed on the Chinatown Festivals’ Facebook page throughout the month.

For those who wish to stay home and avoid the potential crowds, there is also a 360 Virtual Tour which will be available soon, which includes a heritage trail led by volunteer guides. More details can be found here.

Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations

Date: 23 January - 12 Mar 2021

Location: Chinatown precinct

Price: FREE

5. Dahlia Dreams at Gardens by the Bay

Pic credit: Gardens by the Bay

While most of us may associate Chinese New Year with hongbaos (red packets) and festive goodies, did you know there are seasonal blooms associated with the Lunar New Year? If you want to learn more about these flowers, a trip to the Dahlia Dreams exhibit at Gardens by the Bay is the perfect way to explore more of these plants associated with the festive season.

In case you didn’t know, Dahlia Dreams is an annual Chinese New Year floral display in the Flower Dome that features seasonal blooms. This year’s display includes auspicious symbols and elements, and features over 1000 dahlias grown in-house by a team of horticulturists! Chinese New Year favourites such as azaleas, chrysanthemums and cymbidiums are also on display.

Aside from the flowers, the centrepiece of this year’s display is a lantern globe that is made up of over 200 lanterns, and it’s the perfect place to snap some IG-worthy photos. The moon gates are a traditional part of architecture in Chinese gardens, so make sure you look out for it as you explore the display! A Chinese pavilion and display panels featuring the 12 zodiac animals have also been put up as part of the display.

Due to current safe-distancing measures, visitors are required to pre-book their timed-entry tickets online as ticketing is not available on site. For more details, please visit the Gardens by the Bay website.

Dahlia Dreams

Date: 15 Jan - 21 Feb, 9AM-9PM