SINGAPORE - Celebrations to usher in an auspicious Chinese New Year will begin this Saturday (Jan 23) in Chinatown, with the area getting illuminated by hundreds of lanterns.
Festivities are expected to be muted due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation but there will still be plenty to see at this year's Chinese New Year light-up.
Eighty-eight ox lanterns will illuminate Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road. They are among the 888 lanterns lighting up the precinct, said Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens' Consultative Committee on Tuesday.
The 880m light-up will also feature lanterns in the shape of pomelos, blossom trees and ingots. The decorations are symbolic of the light-up's theme, "Usher in Good Health, Prosperity and Happiness".
South Bridge Road will also be adorned with lanterns depicting the 12 zodiac animals.
This year's centrepiece will be located opposite Chinatown Point. It will be 10m tall, depicting a golden ox surrounded by gold coins and ingots, with a riverbank and water wheel next to it representing the flow of wealth and fortune.
Mr Vincent Tan, who heads the light-up organising committee, told reporters on Tuesday that the budget for this year's light-up is similar to previous years.
However, with the bazaar called off and no lion dance performances, the overall budget for the Chinese New Year celebrations is lower than it used to be, he said.
"Even though events such as the Festive Street Bazaar and Countdown Party had to be cancelled to minimise crowds, visitors can still enjoy the colours, sights and sounds of Chinatown with their family and loved ones," said Mr Tan.
This is the first time the bazaar has been called off since it started in 1989, with shoppers thronging it every year to buy Chinese New Year goodies, spring couplets and traditional Chinese attire.
While the committee welcomed visitors to observe the light-up, it reminded them to abide by the safe management measures such as wearing masks at all times and keeping 1m apart from one another.
People can also watch the light-up ceremony from their homes. It will be live-streamed on Chinatown Festivals' Facebook page on Saturday at 8pm.
The lanterns were designed in collaboration with 12 undergraduates from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). This is the 10th time SUTD students have helped design the Chinese New Year light-up display.
Beyond the light-up, those who celebrate Chinese New Year can also look forward to short films about Chinese New Year delicacies.
The films will be streamed on the Chinatown Festivals' Facebook page this month and the next.