Chinese New Year, which falls on February 1 this year, is a time of festivities and feast.
The festival is celebrated worldwide – and Chinatown is one of the most popular areas for this festival. Now in its 20th year, the Chinatown Singapore Street Light-Up along Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road is welcomed with a huge lantern of Bengal tigers designed by students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design. The lanterns will be on display from 7 January 2022 to 2 March 2022.
With that, I head down to Chinatown to experience and feel the festivities. Compare to last year, the celebrations are grander and more alive. Thankfully, the restrictions are lifted to some extent, and groups are allowed to visit the place.
Chinatown is Red
Everything is red – lanterns, door couplets, paper cuttings, clothes, and light installations are dominantly red. It’s undoubtedly the color of the season. The busy street of Chinatown is glowing in red lights and lanterns. For in Chinese tradition, red signifies good fortune, luck, vitality, and prosperity. Also, it is believed to ward off evil spirits.
Although it’s crowded, Chinatown at sunset is the best time to marvel and shoot at those amazing light installations and decorations for the festivities. Here are some photos I took around Chinatown.
“The lanterns symbolize people letting go of the past year and welcoming the new year with good fortune”.
Traditions, Customs & Beliefs
⇧ The Lucky Red Envelope. The red envelopes or packet containing cash (Hongbao in Mandarin), are a traditional gift exchange as tokens of good wishes and prosperity.
⇧ Peanuts & Seeds. In Chinese tradition, peanuts symbolize good health and longevity. Seeds are snacked on during gatherings for the seeds are associated with having lots of offspring.
⇧ Lanterns are seen along South Bridge Road consisting of typical Chinese New Year ornaments like traditional Chinese fans, pineapples, and auspicious couplets. Pineapple or “ong lai“, is seen as a symbol of wealth and prosperity, to welcome riches into the home.
⇧ The entrance of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is adorned with two orange trees (kumquat tree) at the entrance and an orchid flower light installation. The citrus tree means attracting good fortune and abundance and when displayed in pairs, it means the doubling of wealth.
⇧ Lanterns outside the perimeter of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
The lantern is located between New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street will comprise a family of tigers signifying reunion, harmony, and the art of keeping fortune for better days. The design features Bengal tigers, with the largest measuring up to 4.5m in length and almost 5m in height.
A family of tigers to signify reunion, harmony and prosperity.
The Family. The father tiger is composed and standing tall on top of a huge rock, a display of his strength and steadfast nature, while the mother tiger is on a lower elevation, surrounded by her three cubs.
⇧ The family of tigers, posing with gold ingots and coins. Colored koi fish signify prosperity and success. According to Chinese beliefs, water also implies the flow of wealth and fortune.
A symbol of good luck, the dragon is one of the most important symbols in Chinese culture and dance.