From giant puppets to galloping horses, next year's Chingay Parade is set to be the most colourful and grandest ever.
The annual Chinese New Year procession, set to take place on Feb 7 and Feb 8 at the F1 Pit Building, will be the biggest yet since it was first held in 1973. Some 70,000 individuals, roughly double that of this year, will be involved in the parade to usher in The Year of the Horse.
Among the highlights is a contingent of some 30 giant puppets representing the local ethnic groups and professions such as hawkers and cabbies.
Spectators can also look forward to a parade of horses from the Singapore Turf Club as well as horse sculptures designed by Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts students. Other participating groups include the Japanese Association, Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board.
As in previous years, foreign contingents will be involved in the festivities, with performers from China, South Korea, the Philippines, Italy, South Africa, Rwanda and Nigeria participating in the parade.
Making a grand entrance will be a giant straw horse standing at 8m tall. The festivities will end with a flourish with a first-of-its-kind drama performance from some 180 community club volunteers.
The parade route will also be decked with a batik painting, and a pair of tapestries - each measuring 360m long - which are hand-knitted by volunteers out of recycled fabrics such as t-shirts and pillow cases.
Constituency volunteers like Madam Suriani Marsom of Taman Jurong have spent up to three hours each day for the past three months crocheting and knitting the donated cloth into colourful pieces of artwork.
''I didn't know how to knit at all, but because of Chingay I learnt and made new friends,'' said the 46-year-old accountant.
Mr Justin Foo, chairman of the People's Association's Community Emergency and Engagement Council and vice-chairman of the batik and tapestry projects said: ''The knitting of the tapestries is very symbolic of people of different backgrounds coming together.''
The parade's theme, ''Colours of Fabric, One People'', will be reflected not just in the tapestries, but also in the official song Knit As One.
Composed by music maestro Lee Si Song, with words by Jay Lim, the tune features local singers Hazrul Nizam, Ric Liu, Serene Koong and Vicknesvari Vadivalagan singing in Singapore's four official languages - English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
Apart from the main parade, there will also be heartland parades in Tanjong Pagar, Radin Mas, East Coast, Joo Chiat and Punggol-Sengkang New Town.
Mr Ang Hak Seng, the new chief executive director of People's Association, which has organised the parade since its inception, said: ''I want it to be a people's parade. A parade for the people, by the people, and with the people.''
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.