Next year's Chingay parade is going to be the biggest and youngest one yet, with more than half of its 15,000 performers and volunteers aged below 35.
"Every year's Chingay, we have a lot of young people participating, but this is the first time we have had such a number," said Chingay 2015 executive committee chairman Nah Juay Hng.
Chingay, the annual Chinese New Year street procession, had 10,000 participants last year and a smaller proportion - about 40 per cent - who are younger than 35 years old.
Many of the young performers are from schools and groups such as the People's Association (PA), Mr Nah said yesterday at a media briefing for next year's parade.
They came forward to volunteer for the parade on their own, he added.
PA chief executive director Ang Hak Seng said the parade next year would truly be a "people's gift" to Singapore for its 50th birthday.
"We say that Chingay is a people's parade - it's a parade by the people, for the people, with the people," he added.
The 2015 parade will have a "We love SG" theme and is one of the key events lined up to mark Singapore's golden jubilee next year.
The main show will be held at the F1 Pit Building on Feb 27 and 28.
There will also be a street carnival in Orchard Road in the first three days of March.
Next year's Chingay will take place over a month, going to different places in the heartland till March 28.
The annual Chinese New Year event is organised by the PA and celebrated by all races.
Tickets for the parade went on sale in October.
In the lead-up to the parade, a new nationwide campaign to engage young people in nation- building would also be launched, Mr Ang said yesterday.
Called Youth Aspirations for Singapore, the campaign encourages young Singaporeans to share their hopes for the nation.
Starting from January, the PA will be holding talks about the campaign at 50 primary and secondary schools.
Students will be encouraged to vote for 10 values and visions they believe in via a mobile application which will be available from next month.
Members of the public are also encouraged to submit their hopes and dreams for Singapore on the Chingay website, said Mr Nah, adding that the organisers are hoping to have a total of 60,000 online messages by next year's Chingay.
"We want to involve Singaporeans from all walks of life in Chingay 2015," he said.
These messages will feature in the parade's grand finale, a performance titled "Trees of Hope, Singapore Dreams".
They will be hung from 150 tree sculptures, which are designed to turn the F1 Pit area into an enchanted forest.
About 1,000 performers will dress up as elves and fairies and dance to a specially composed song performed by Singapore Mandopop singer-songwriter JJ Lin.
Performer Siti Norzaisah Zainudin, 28, is looking forward to putting on a good show for Singapore, together with her younger sister, who is also in the parade.
"(50 years) is a big milestone we have achieved, and we will put on a grand show for Singapore," said the pre-school teacher.
This article was first published on Dec 5, 2014.
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