7 Things to do During Chinese New Year in Singapore

The time for Chinese New Year festivities has arrived again!

By Prysillia Liow

January 20 2020

The time for Chinese New Year festivities has arrived again! As one of the major cultural celebrations in Singapore, you can be certain that there will be a multitude of activities for you to participate in during Chinese New Year. Common activities include attending crowded parades, putting up festive decorations, and eating plenty of delicious snacks that will leave you feeling stuffed even before the main dishes have arrived.

The exciting Chinese New Year celebrations also involve spectacular fireworks and the occasional energetic lion dance performances to usher in good fortune for the year ahead. Here are some things you can do during the Chinese New Year celebration period in Singapore.

1. Shop for some unique last-minute decorations 

Credit: Nom Nom Plush / Naiise.com

While my family may not be considered as traditional Chinese, having decorations up during the festive period is considered an absolute necessity. The bright red decals on the walls, lanterns made from red packets, and other eye-catching decorations help to create a wonderfully festive atmosphere that is perfect for welcoming visitors.

If you wish to escape from the crowded streets of Chinatown when shopping for decorations, IKEA is an excellent choice for elegant and affordable options. For more unique decorations, you can consider visiting a Naiise outlet and browsing through the products offered in their CNY collection. My personal favourite will be the adorable pineapple tart cushion by Nom Nom Plush, which will add an unexpected festive touch to your home. Another delightful choice will be the Lor Cushion Cover by wheniwasfour, which will be a great addition to your home even after Chinese New Year ends.

2. Admire the exciting performances at the Chingay Parade

Credit: Derrick See / Visit Singapore 

For two days from 31st January till 1st February, you can head over to the F1 Pit Building at night to catch the large-scale CNY parade where there will be an outstanding showcase of exciting cultural performances and stunning floats. The annual event first started in 1973 as a much simpler street parade but has now become an iconic event know for its multi-cultural performances that celebrate Singapore's cultural diversity.

While the event is not free, it remains one of the best activities for visitors and families who want to immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere of Chinese New Year. Ticket prices range from $28 to $50 or $60, depending on the day you will be watching the parade.

3. Watch the Abundance in the Sea performance at S.E.A Aquarium

Unlike the Chingay Parade, the Abundance in the Sea performance takes place in an entirely unexpected location – the S.E.A Aquarium! The name of the performance is derived from the presence of marine animals like the Mouse Grouper and Pineapple Fish, which are seen as auspicious symbols of prosperity. The Abundance in the Sea performance is also a must-watch for anyone who loves the thrilling lion dance performances, as visitors at the S.E.A Aquarium will be treated to the sight of a marvellous underwater dragon dance show. There will be a multitude of festive photo spots available at various parts of the aquarium, allowing you and your family members to capture some memorable pictures.

Ticket prices range from $30 for Senior Citizens and Children to $41 for Adults.

4. Visit the classic Chinese New Year event at River Hongbao

Credit: River Hong Bao Singapore

 The River Hongbao event ties in closely with the Chingay Parade, as you will be able to watch a part of the parade from the viewing gallery of the River Hongbao. If parades are not your cup of tea, the River Hongbao event may be an excellent choice for you and your family members to visit instead. At the 2020 event, you can expect to see intricately crafted lanterns and specially choreographed fireworks that will light up the night sky. Other activities include games, interactive exhibits, and performances that will keep you entertained throughout the night.

Parents can keep their children occupied by engaging them in River Hongbao's first-ever virtual game where visitors can use their mobile phones to capture the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac and redeem prizes. The virtual game incorporates the use of augmented reality to create a riveting experience for all ages! 

5. Capture stunning pictures at Dahlia Dreams, Gardens by the Bay 

Credit: Gardens By The Bay

The Dahlia Dreams exhibit at the Gardens by the Bay is the attraction's first collaboration with the Beijing Florascape Co., Ltd that is known for their masterful horticultural art. The astounding sculptures will serve as the perfect backdrop for your festive pictures with your friends and family members, ensuring that your Chinese New Year outfits are given the backgrounds they deserve.

Other excellent sights at the Gardens by the Bay during the festive season will include the pavilion, beautiful peach blossoms, and elegant red-crowned cranes. When combined, the resulting landscape is one that is reminiscent of traditional Chinese paintings, making it a wonderful place for a quiet stroll amidst the busy festive period.

6. Have your 2020 fortune read at One Raffles Place

Credit: One Raffles Place

What would a Chinese New Year celebration be without some fortune reading for the year ahead? At One Raffles Place, shoppers can gain insights into their 2020 forecast through the speeches by Master Bro Alec Chia and the informative zodiac signs exhibition. The Yi Wei Athletic Association will also be present at One Raffles Place on 31st January 2020 the Chinese New Year.

7. Watch some classic Chinese films from the comforts of your home

While the bustling crowds and fun activities may be an important part of the Chinese New Year celebrations, I believe that the time you spend with your family members at home is also an essential aspect of celebrating the festive period. After all, what I remember the most from every Chinese New Year celebration are the moments where my entire family gathers in my grandmother's small living room and watch a television show together while passing around snacks and beverages. The simple actions are made memorable due to the presence of my treasured family members.

With the availability of streaming services like Netflix and Toggle available, watching a Chinese film or television show during Chinese New Year is incredibly easy. Why not try binging the IP Man series on Netflix, as the thrilling action sequences will be sure to keep everyone occupied and entertained.

The plethora of activities to choose from will incite excitement even in the most tranquil person. Ultimately, the best decision on which activities to embark on will depend on your family's preferences. May you enjoy the festivities and have a prosperous year ahead in 2020!