SINGAPORE - In keeping with tradition, the River Hongbao celebrations for Chinese New Year will include overseas performers, with two troupes from China and Taiwan joining the event this year.
The Shandong Song and Dance Theatre will be performing a piece inspired by the Six Arts of Chinese philosopher Confucius, using folk dance to portray the disciplines of rites, music, archery, chariot racing, calligraphy and mathematics.
This will be one of the 14 performance items that the troupe from China has prepared, which also include a musical piece featuring the Chinese wind instrument suona.
The Shandong ensemble's head of Chinese orchestra, Mr Ma Hai Long, hopes that its cultural performances will evoke a sense of home for the Chinese nationals remaining in Singapore over the Chinese New Year.
Dance students from the University of Taipei will present five performances, including a traditional folk dance called Waltzing By The River.
This performance was conceptualised by Ms Hsiao Chiin-Ling, the director of dance at the university, who had previously performed at River Hongbao in the past.
Both troupes will perform on the first four nights of the River Hongbao, which runs from Thursday (Jan 23) to Saturday (Feb 1).
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, is the guest of honour at the opening ceremony.
Among the local performers each night will be Chinese orchestra group Reverberance and a capella group Micapella. A million visitors are expected to attend the 10-day event, which costs about $3 million to organise, at the Marina Bay Floating Platform.
The carnival event will include rides, games such as Hunt-Your-Zodiac and street food stalls, while a Prosperity in Packets exhibition will put the spotlight on the Chinese custom of giving hongbao, or red packets.
"Our challenge was to create something novel that differed from previous years, while retaining the traditional quality of River Hongbao," said Mr Perng Peck Seng, the event's programme chairman.
The River Hongbao is running for the 34th year, and is organised by the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Singapore Press Holdings' Chinese Media Group, Singapore Tourism Board and People's Association.