Zodiac animals light up CNY festivities in Chinatown through the years

SINGAPORE - People in Singapore now look forward to seeing a giant lantern of the zodiac animal of the year in Chinatown every year. Towering dragons, mischievous monkeys and gambolling goats have stood at the junction of Eu Tong Sen Street and Upper Cross Street in years past.

This year, a colourful 13m-tall rooster seems to crow with delight, while a flock of bright little chicks and hens line Eu Tong Sen Street to chirp in the Year of the Fire Rooster. Some 5,500 handcrafted lanterns, the largest number ever, illustrate the life of the chicken from chick to rooster.

The light-up was started by the Singapore Tourism Board in 1985, when the festive street bazaar was also brought back. 

Students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) have had a hand in designing the light-up since 2012. Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens Consultative Committee organises the annual event. 

This three-decade old tradition is now one of the highlights of the Chinese New Year festivities in Singapore, which also include cultural performances, an international lion dance competition and the Chingay parade on Feb 12.

The video shows a series of dazzling zodiac animal lanterns put up over the decade. The 12 zodiac animals are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

Chinese bid farewell to the monkey on Jan 28 as they usher in the Year of the Rooster. 

In 2015, a 10m-high centerpiece of the Chinatown street light-up featured three huge goat lanterns, accompanied by 338 goat-shaped lanterns and 1,500 gold coin lanterns.

A 10m-tall, 400kg horse lantern stood majestically in Chinatown in 2014.  The light-up also featured a total of 176 horse lanterns made of silk and wire.

 A 108m-long snake comprising 5,000 red cube-shaped lanterns came alive on the streets of Chinatown in 2013.

In 2012, a 108m-long dragon lantern ran along the centre divider of Eu Tong Sen Street, signifying a bountiful year. 

The rabbit lanterns in Chinatown in 2006 proved to be a delight with the young and old.