Chinatown Chinese New Year Light-Up 2023 features rabbits galore and the return of the beloved CNY festive bazaar.
Happy New Year! Christmas is (long) over! It’s time to chop chop prepare for Chinese New Year.
“Quickly prepare,” because this year’s CNY comes exceptionally early—it’s just a little more than a fortnight away. Which, in turn, seems appropriate since we tend to associate rabbits with feistiness, zest, and vigour.
(Or, that’s what Western pop entertainment has led us to believe. The rabbit in Chinese culture is a wholly different business …)
The festive bazaar is also back! Finally back. While making my way down Pagoda Street last evening, I realised just how much I’ve forgotten about it, even though it’s only been gone for two years. (So three years since the last one in 2020) I also realized how much I missed the festive sounds and bustle, despite always grouching about the crowds in the past.
If you haven’t, you should head down for a look. Enjoy the street lights, buy something at the bazaar, and perhaps stay for one of the stage shows at Kreta Ayer Square.
About the lights, there’s controversy again, isn’t there? Well, I don’t think the rabbits are as eye-catching as last year’s tigers. But complaints about the bunnies looking as if they are about to poop-poop because of protruding bottoms and bent legs?
Hey, big bottoms are a sign of prosperity in Chinese culture, okay! And do we really want anthropomorphic, Disney-ish rabbits with straight legs for Lunar New Year decorations? I think not!
Leaping into the Prosperous Year of the Rabbit @ Singapore Chinatown
Chinatown Chinese New Year 2023 Bazaar
The bazaar, or festive fair, was crowded when I visited at 8 pm – it felt like a weekend. But having not experienced this for two years, there was a certain joy as I strolled through the bazaar? I’m sure most Singaporeans would feel the same when there.
By the way, check out my post on Dahlia Dreams 2023 at Gardens by the Bay for festive CNY blooms. If you’re curious about the stories behind traditions such as the giving of Yāsuì Qián (压岁钱) and the eating of Nián gāo (年糕), check out this write-up of mine on the origins behind CNY traditions over at Holidappy.
Mini walk-thru of the festive bazaar in my video below too.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
As with last year, the illuminated displays put up by the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple are simply awesome. Frankly, I find them better than the street displays too. Absolutely, absolutely festive and photogenic.
Chinatown Chinese New Year Light-Up 2023 ends on Feb 19, 2023, while the last day of the festive bazaar and food fair is Jan 21, 2023 (Chu Xi). Check the official Chinatown Festivals page for updates and schedules of performances at Kreta Ayer Square.