River Hongbao is an annual Lunar Chinese New Year event that is held in Singapore. Since 1987, the festival was celebrated at The Float at Marina Bay and moved to the Gardens by the Bay for 2 consecutive years due to the pandemic. The River Hongbao 2022 was held from 30 January to 6 February 2022.
River Hongbao brings out an awe-inspiring display of Chinese cultures and traditions. The word ‘Hongbao’ means Red Pocket, a New Year monetary gift that is believed to bring good luck to children and unmarried adults
This year’s lantern displays feature iconic scenes of celebration each with its own theme related to Prosperity, Love, Fortune, Harmony among others. Due to Covid restriction, the event was crowd-controlled and a face mask is mandatory – as always. There was a time limit for visitors and food was not allowed inside the premises. It’s not as festive and fun compared to pre-covid festivals.
Highlights for this year’s onsite festival include the ever-popular lantern displays and here are some of the pics I took on the festival.
Welcome Arch @ Golden Garden
The design for this welcome arch is based on the auspicious saying “Chun Feng De Yi”. This is reflected by the majestic curtains blowing in the spring breeze, bringing along growth and prosperity into the new year.
Coupled with the lion dance display here, the dragon dance is believed to scare away evil spirits and all the bad luck associated with them and bring in good luck and wealth instead.
Nian Hua: Changing Times, Unchanging Aspirations
With the theme “Nian Hua: Changing Times, Unchanging Aspirations”, this year’s exhibition takes visitors on a journey through time to find out more about traditional Chinese art and painting.
God of Fortune
The God of Fortune, Cai Shen is the Chinese god of wealth who brings prosperity, luck, and fortuitous windfalls. Standing 18 meters high, people believe that the God of Wealth shall bestow great fortune to those who worship sincerely.
During the festive season, welcoming the God of Wealth is one of the important new year customs in addition to having a reunion dinner, and visiting loved ones. People hope that life will flourish with great prosperity under the blessings of the God of Wealth.
Giant Revolving Lantern
The display concept is inspired by “Zou Ma Deng”, otherwise known as “Running Horse Lantern”, such traditional revolving lanterns typically depict scenes of leaders riding horses.
The word “花” (hua) means flowers but can also be interpreted as lanterns, which is derived from the word “花灯” (hua deng).
Surrounded by flowers and with modern art incorporated, this lantern forms a scenic view.
The beautiful mural paintings featured are by established Singaporean artist Mr. Yip Yew Chong.
Roaring Tigers and Dragon
A pair of regal tigers on the hills and a dragon rising from the water form this majestic lantern set situated on the lake.
As spring arrives with new blessings, let us welcome the Year of the Tiger together with the roars of the tigers and dragons!
Rising after Challenges
With music and dance steps, this display wishes all “Bu Bu Gao Sheng” (步步高升) – which signifies rising to greater success after overcoming challenges.
Love is Sweet
Inspired by the auspicious phrase “Tian Tian Mi Mi”, this lantern set reflects the sweet and loving relationships within a family and between couples.
The setting is a fantasy Candyland filled with giant sweets and desserts such as ice cream, ice kacang (local shaved ice dessert), bubble tea, and popular Chinese New Year snacks and goodies.
Abundance of Prosperity
“Nian Nian You Yu” is a favorite New Year greeting as it means an abundance of joy, health, and prosperity year after year.
The Chinese character “余” (yu) represents surplus or abundance and has the same pronunciation as the word for fish: “鱼” (yu).
Hence, the koi pond is the perfect setting for this carp-themed lantern set.
Great Luck, Great Fortune
“Bai Nian” (拜年) is one of many Chinese New Year traditions. Within the family, the junior members of the family will offer their elders a pair of Mandarin oranges and New Year greetings. Elders will also give out red packets to unwed junior members of the family, symbolizing wishes of good luck and auspiciousness.
Mandarin oranges are symbols of luck.
And with that, thanks for visiting and wishing everyone a continuous flow of wealth for the Year of the Tiger!