Festive light-up in Chinatown

1 CHANG’E LANTERN
1 CHANG’E LANTERNST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
2 HOU YI LANTERN DISPLAY
2 HOU YI LANTERN DISPLAYST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
3 MOON PALACE
3 MOON PALACEST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
4 JADE RABBITS
4 JADE RABBITSST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
5 HANGING LANTERNS
5 HANGING LANTERNSST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The heritage district of Chinatown turns into a haven for shutterbugs this month.

Until Sept 30, 900 colourful LED lanterns will line Eu Tong Sen Street, New Bridge Road and South Bridge Road in an annual street light-up as part of the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations.

The lanterns will be lit from 7pm to 2am on Fridays and Saturdays and from 7pm to midnight from Sundays to Thursdays.

The festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, which falls on Sept 15 this year.

This year's light-up is centred on the legend behind the festival, that of Chang'e, the Chinese goddess of the moon. Her husband Hou Yi was an archer who saved Earth from being scorched by 10 suns by shooting down nine, and was rewarded with an elixir of life. One story has it that he then became a tyrannical ruler. To save the people from him, Chang'e drank the elixir of life and floated to the moon.

A 12m-tall sculptured lantern of Chang'e is the centrepiece of the Chinatown display.

To make the event more environmentally friendly, LED lanterns are being used for the first time. They were designed by eight students from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, who worked with lantern craftsmen from China.

Organised by the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens' Consultative Committee, the celebrations also include nightly cultural and music performances at Kreta Ayer Square and a bazaar till Sept 15.

The Sunday Times recommends the best spots for pictures of the stunning lantern displays.

•Go to www.chinatownfestivals.sg for more details.


1 CHANG'E LANTERN

This giant, 12m-tall sculptured lantern of Chang'e, the Chinese goddess of the moon and the most iconic figure in legends about the Mid-Autumn Festival, is the largest lantern display in this year's festival light-up in Chinatown.

Clouds and flowers that adorn the foot of the sculpture add to her ethereal quality. A giant moon casts a warm glow on her.

Where: Junction of Eu Tong Sen Street and Upper Cross Street

Best photo spot: To get a top-to-bottom shot of the massive lantern, stand at the pedestrian crossing in front of the main entrance of Chinatown Point that faces Eu Tong Sen Street

2 HOU YI LANTERN DISPLAY

Here we see Chang'e's husband, Hou Yi, preparing to shoot one of 10 suns to save Earth from being scorched. Before he turned into a tyrannical ruler, the archer was considered a heroic figure in folklore.

Where: Centre divider of New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street, behind the Chang'e lantern

Best photo spot: Along the pathway on New Bridge Road near Chinatown MRT station entrance. Prepare to zoom in on the display as the road keeps pedestrians from going closer

3 MOON PALACE

This lantern stands out among the smaller lantern sculptures, with its striking red colour and intricate details, which make Chang'e's residence on the Moon look especially resplendent.

Clouds line the bottom to suggest it stands in an otherworldly realm.

Where: Centre divider of New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street, a few metres from the Hou Yi lantern

Best photo spot: Pathway on New Bridge Road, near McDonald's. A street lamp in front of the lantern will appear in your photo though

4 JADE RABBITS

The cutest lanterns in the street light-up are four white Jade Rabbits. In mythology, Chang'e had just one rabbit as a companion on the moon and it was kept busy pounding the elixir of life. The display is connected to the Moon Palace lantern so a wide-angle shot can capture both displays.

Where: Centre divider between New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street, next to the Moon Palace lantern

Best photo spot: Pathway on New Bridge Road, outside On Cheong Jewellery

5 HANGING LANTERNS

The lantern decorations in South Bridge Road are different from the ones in New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street, but are equally stunning.

Lanterns of four designs - clouds, flowers, suns and green herbs - hang above the street.

Along each line is a centrepiece lantern in the form of Chang'e, Hou Yi, the Jade Rabbit or the Moon Palace.

Where: Along South Bridge Road, which runs parallel to New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street

Best photo spot: Any spot along the pathway, as the lanterns are overhead

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 04, 2016, with the headline 'Festive light-up in Chinatown'. Print Edition | Subscribe