Beautiful light installations, a dog-themed festival and a flower market – there’s just so much to do at Chinatown this festive season.

2018 has just begun, but in the blink of an eye, Chinese New Year is just around the corner. As  Chinatown starts to light up, take some time and head on over to soak in the festive spirit. To usher in the Year of the Dog, this year’s celebration, themed “Blossoms of Happiness and Prosperity”, features a line-up of dog-themed festivities organised by the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizen’s Consultative Committee.

All are welcome to join in – even your pets. Bring along your furkids to see Chinatown come alive with the annual Street Light-Up at 7pm everyday from 27 January to 16 March. You’ll be mesmerised by the 2,188 handcrafted lanterns designed in collaboration with students and faculty members from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), as you cruise down the streets of Chinatown on a journey through the four seasons.

Spanning three weeks from 27 January to 16 March, the celebrations start off with an Official Light-up and Opening Ceremony on 27 January, graced by guest-of-honour, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Visitors will be captivated by acrobatic, music and dance performances, and a spectacular fireworks and firecrackers display to kick off this season of prosperity with a bang.

Adorable dog installations line the divider between New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street, and shine brightly against a backdrop of colourful seasonal blooms – pink orchids (spring), green bamboo (summer), orange chrysanthemums (autumn), and blue plum blossoms (winter). The dog-themed light-up culminates in a 11m-high centerpiece of a family of dogs seated at the junction of Eu Tong Sen Street and Upper Cross Street. To get an up-close shot or “we-fie” with the dogs for the gram, head to any of the nine 3D dog-themed photo spots around the area, including some at Garden Bridge and Chinatown Food Street.

Don’t forget to look overhead too –streams of pineapples, oranges and , which means prosperity in Mandarin, adorn the busy main road. We loved the doggie installations, but we say take the road less travelled (literally), and take a drive through South Bridge Road. You’ll be greeted 18 glowing arches of pussy willows and oranges that light up your path, and quite essentially take your breath away.

After admiring the lights, head down with your family to the Chinatown Wishing Tree (from 23 January to 15 February) and make a ‘wish’ for a $2, that will go towards the Kreta Ayer Seniors’ Activity Centre.

Continue your celebratory outing at the Nighttime Festive Street Bazaar, with over 420 stalls from 26 January to 15 February along YouthEATs @ Temple Street. There will be nightly performances from 8pm to 10.30pm, 27 January to 15 February, featuring acts by local and overseas performers, as well as traditional mask-changing segments and engaging ventriloquist performances.

Other exciting festivities include a Chinatown Walking Trail (1.5 hours, starting at 3.30pm on selected days), the dog-themed carnival and costume competition (3 February), the 11th International Lion Dance Competition ($10 for one show, $15 for two, on 2 and 3 February), where 14 top lion dance troupes from 8 countries around the region compete to snag the title, ‘King of the Lions’. Tickets can be purchased at Kreta Ayer Community Club, or the Chinatown Visitor Centre.

The long-awaited Flower Market is finally back after 10 years. From 5-15 February, shop for your festive blooms at the car park at Banda Street (off Sago Lane), with traditional blooms like pussy willows, tangerine shrubs, Pineapple Plants, Money Trees and ‘Fa Cai Suan’.

Finally, the Chinatown Chinese New Year Countdown Party on New Year’s Eve, 15 February starts at 9.30pm. There’s just so much to do at Chinatown this Lunar New Year, and the festivities are just getting started!

For more information, visit www.chinatownfestivals.sg

For tickets to 11th International Lion Dance Competition:
– Kreta Ayer Community Club, 28A Kreta Ayer Road
– Chinatown Visitor Centre @ Kreta Ayer Square, 2 Banda Street (behind the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum)
– Tel: 6222 3597

Dog lantern images credit to: Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens’ Consultative Committee