What to expect at this year's River Hongbao at Gardens by the Bay

The lanterns at Gardens by the Bay include an 18m-tall God of Fortune display. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Workers putting the final touches to the centrepiece, located at the Supertree Grove, on Feb 2, 2021. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
A Happy Family lantern set at Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay on Feb 2, 2021. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Visitors on the opening day of the River Hongbao festivities were treated to a spectacle of lanterns as well as a lion dance exhibition to kick off their Chinese New Year celebrations.

The lanterns, which lit up Gardens by the Bay on Wednesday night (Feb 10), include an 18m-tall God of Fortune display next to a golden ox, gold coins and dollar notes.

The riverside carnival, which runs till Feb 16, is being held for the first time at Gardens by the Bay.

The annual event, which began in 1987, was previously held at The Float @ Marina Bay.

This year, there are festivities taking place both virtually and physically, in light of safe distancing measures.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony, attended the event with Mrs Lee.

He wished visitors a happy new year. "(I hope) in the new year to come, we will have the strength of an ox to see through the troubles and diseases, to overcome our challenges, and to bring prosperity, good health and happiness to our people," said PM Lee.

The event is free but ticketed as part of crowd control measures. All tickets have been taken.

But the public can attend virtual live tours of the festivities on the River Hongbao Facebook page.

They can also watch videos of the lion dance exhibition and pre-recorded performances every night on the Facebook page or the event's website.

There are also online games, including the POSB #HuntYourZodiac interactive virtual mobile game, and a TikTok Challenge, where there are prizes to be won.

River Hongbao 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.

PM Lee Hsien Loong and Mrs Lee visit the lantern exhibits to mark the opening of River Hongbao 2021 at the Gardens by the Bay, on Feb 10, 2021. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
PM Lee Hsien Loong and Mrs Lee tour exhibits to mark the opening of River Hongbao 2021 at the Gardens by the Bay, on Feb 10, 2021. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Mr Tan Aik Hock, chairman of the River Hongbao 2021 Organising Committee, said: "Over the next few days, we really hope that Singaporeans who have got tickets to the physical event enjoy it with their families and friends while observing safe distancing measures, and that those at home will log on to our website or access our social media channels to view the content that we have put up.

"We want to reach out to as many Singaporeans as possible."

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