Chinese New Year

Singapore Celebrates With 40th Chingay Parade

Story and photos from Jack Penman in Singapore

The first thing to know about this year’s Chingay parade is: Prepare to get wet! Why? because it’s being held in a 360-metre long waterway at the Formula One pit building in Singapore.

I saw the first full dress rehearsal involving 12 floats, 7500 local performers, many international performers and lots of water.

Judging by the ‘wet’ run, this year’s parade should be spectacular. Being Chingay’s 40th year, the use of the 360-metre wet stage marks an innovative and refreshing change.

The first Chingay parade in 1973 was intended to celebrate Chinese New Year after the ban on fireworks in Singapore the previous year.

Given the importance of fireworks in Chinese celebrations, it was felt that the ban would dampen the coming Chinese New Year festivities. Thus the People’s Association, and other groups, worked together and the first Chingay parade was born.

This idea of communities working together continues to be a strong part of the parade as shown by the large varied number of groups taking part this year and by this year’s theme which is “A waterway parade of love and care”.

Early parades

Early parades were a mainly Chinese affair. But 1977 saw the introduction of Indian and Malay groups. Since then it has steadily grown to encompass more groups over the years. This year’s parade includes more than 25 groups from Singapore and abroad.

The parade is expected to be broadcast to several hundred million Worldwide — and China’s leading internet TV network, PPTV, will broadcast the event online. This years parade will be available live on many mobile devices including Android phones, iPhone, iPad, PC’s and other internet connected devices.

Twelve floats will be appearing in the parade. Last years floats were excellent and this years floats have the added challenge of being water based. The “Sharing on Ue O Muite Aruko Voice of Love by the Japanese Association Singapore, with its 330 member squad ranging in age from 11 to 65.

The TaeKwondo Federation presents their TaeKwondo Aerobics display. Several of them broke boards of wood with flying licks made doubly spectacular by the water splashing everywhere.

 

1000 Taichi practitioners form the Chingay Taichi Gongfu Fan contingent.

 

 

Other highlights include :

* largest outdoor Dikir Barat competition with 600 performers

* 28 Community dragons of love

* Prosperity flying dragon and phoenix by China’s Shaanxi Huaxia Air Art Development Co ltd

* Zhanjiang human dragon dance by Zhanjiang human dragon dance troupe

This years parade is on Friday 3rd Feb at 8:30pm and on Saturday 4th Feb at 8:30pm, at the Formula 1 pit building next to the Singapore flyer.

For more photos visit Jack Penman’s site: CLICK HERE

For more about Chingay visit www.chingay.org.sg