5 ways to celebrate Chinese New Year in Singapore

This article first appeared on Skyscanner’s 5 ways to celebrate Chinese New Year in Singapore

The Lunar New Year is just around the corner, and Singapore is always abuzz with lively festivals, thrilling parades and larger-than-life lanterns during this multi-day festival.

Still figuring out how to usher in the Year of the Rooster in 2017? Check out Skyscanner's list of things to do this Chinese New Year for inspiration!

1. Visit River Hongbao

This iconic riverside festival is an annual staple in Singapore's calendar of events, so you can expect an extravaganza of fireworks and performances for 10 consecutive days! Get ready for amusement rides, mouth-watering food, and spectacular lanterns at every turn. This year features exciting performances by Nathan Hartono, as well as the acclaimed Chongqing Song and Dance Troupe.

With a fantastic line up that changes nightly, it's the perfect way to usher in the Lunar New Year for locals and tourists alike. And of course, no River Hongbao experience is complete without catching your lucky numbers from the God of Fortune!

Where: Marina Bay Floating Platform

When: 26 January - 4 February 2017; fireworks at 12 midnight on the eve of Chinese New Year, 9pm on all other days

Website: here

Admission is free

2. Watch the Chingay Parade

Soak up the festive spirit at Singapore's biggest street parade! With over 11,000 performers, eye-popping costumes and exuberantly colourful floats, this joyous multicultural celebration is sure to be a feast for all the senses.

Where else could you find fiery dragon dancers, intrepid acrobats and impossibly graceful wushu masters? This brilliant spectacle of music, dance and pyrotechnics makes for the perfect family outing to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Where: F1 Pit Building, 1 Republic Boulevard

When: 10 - 11 February 2017

Timing: 8pm (Pre-Parade: 7pm)

Tickets: $28.50 - $60

Get your tickets here

3. Indulge in a Chinese New Year feast

Unusual finds at Chinese New Year 2017 bazaar

  • More than 400 stalls along Pagoda, Smith, Sago, Temple and Trengganu streets are selling the usual festive wares and foods at the annual Chinese New Year street bazaar in Chinatown.
  • At Smoke Out, dragon's breath is a dessert that has one breathing out smoke like the mythical creature while biting on crunchy meringue cookies.
  • The stallholder sells the cookies in eight flavours, including chocolate, mango and Oreo. He says the dessert is not dangerous to consume, but customers need to blow on the cookies before popping them in their mouths to prevent frostbite
  • Black may not be the colour of choice for the Chinese during this season, but it makes for an eye-catching shade for festive treats. At Noelle Grandma's Cookies, the black charcoal love letters stand out in a sea of light brown cookies. The taste is similar to that of regular love letters.
  • Setting up shop at the bazaar for the first time this year, the home-grown business is also selling another unique item - organic love letters. The black beans used to prepare the treat are organic and the skin is stripped so that even gout patients can enjoy the love letters without worry.
  • If you are hungry, try the beef or chicken shabu burgers by two graduates of culinary school At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy.
  • Sceptical of the content of some burger patties, Mr Lee Tong Hong, 24, and Mr Denny Lai, 26, decided to come up with burgers made using thinly sliced meat doused in a secret marinade. The smoky teppanyaki-like flavours of the meat are nicely balanced with caramelised onions and a cheese or citrus herb sauce.
  • Decorate your home with brightly coloured micro chrysanthemums that need little care and attention. Freezing technology is used to help the pretty flowers, which are imported from Japan, to survive for up to a decade.
  • They need to be watered only once a month and should be kept indoors, away from sunlight. They will not grow taller. At the stall Freezy Flower, the dainty flora sits alongside adorable figurines of iconic cartoon characters such as Hello Kitty and Doraemon.
  • Ceramic Chinese teapots are a dime a dozen in Chinatown, but one stall stands out at the bazaar for selling intricately designed cast-iron teapots made in Taoyuan, Taiwan. The teapots can be put on display or used to make tea, says the company, Chun Jheng Enterprise from Taiwan, which is at the bazaar for the first time.
  • The teapots are in shades of black and gold, with floral designs or Chinese characters signifying good fortune, prosperity and happiness. Some pots have lids with flowers for knobs.
  • Available at the House Of Lanterns, these are shaped like hot air balloons and include hand-painted floral motifs on white fabrics. The stall also has lanterns in other materials, including silk and artificial leather, as well as revolving LED red lanterns.

Not in the mood to cook up a storm for your reunion dinner? With so many tantalising Chinese New Year buffets around town, you don't have to! Our top pick? The Prosperity Buffet at Carlton Hotel Singapore's Cafe Mosaic. The buffet includes fresh seafood such as oysters, half shell queen scallops, and barbequed favourites such as suckling pig and roasted crispy belly pork.

Other traditional dishes on the menu include Peking duck, longevity buns, and sweet treats like pineapple tarts and nian gao! If that isn't enough, you'll even be provided with a complimentary platter of Yu Sheng to celebrate the festivities. Let the feasting begin!

Where: Carlton Hotel Singapore, 76 Bras Basah Road

When: 27 - 29 January 2017, lunch buffet from 12pm - 2:30pm and dinner buffet from 6pm - 10pm

Prices: $68 - $88 (adult), $34 - $42 (child)

Early bird special: 4-for-3 promotion for Lunar New Year Day 1 & 2 Buffet Lunch & Dinner with reservations and full payment by 20 January 2017

For reservations: call Cafe Mosaic at 6311 8195 or email cafe.mosaic@carltonhotel.sg

Website: here

4. Explore a bustling Chinatown

Chinatown truly comes alive during the Lunar New Year festivities. Dive into Chinatown's bustling streets for a one-stop shopping experience at the Festive Street Bazaar, the best place to buy all your Chinese New Year goodies - from pineapple tarts and peanut cookies to waxed duck meat. But there're loads more to explore besides food!

Get lost in a sea of handmade lanterns, bright lights and unique decorations as you wander through the hundreds of vibrant, rowdy stalls. Be sure not to miss out on the International Lion Dance Competition, held on 14 & 15 January, as well as the Chinese New Year countdown party on 27 January!

Festive Bazaar:

Where: Pagoda Street, Smith Street, Sago Street, Temple Street and Trengganu Street

When: 6 - 27 January 2017, 6pm - 10:30pm (daily), 6pm - 1am (Chinese New Year's Eve)

International Lion Dance Competition:

Where: Carpark at Banda Street (off Sago Lane)

When: 14 - 15 January 2017, 6:30pm - 10:30pm

Countdown party:

Where: New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street

When: 27 January 2017, 9:30pm - 12:30am

Website here

5. Catch a show at Esplanade's Huayi Festival

Photo: Huayi Festival

If you're feeling artsy, grab a ticket to Huayi Festival, which showcases traditional and cutting-edge works by Chinese artists. With dozens of theatre, music and dance performances to choose from, it's every culture buff's dream.

Highlights include A Midsummer's Night Dream by Dionysus Contemporary Theatre, which offers a unique Cantonese twist on this Shakespeare classic. There's even an interactive theatre piece for kids. What better way to usher in the new year?

Where: Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, 1 Esplanade Drive

When: 3 - 12 February 2017

See the full lineup and get tickets here