River Hongbao kicks off with fireworks galore

Visitors enjoying the fireworks display at the launch of River Hongbao 2019 last night. The giant junk boat replica houses an exhibition, "A Harbour And Home: The Singapore River Through Time", which highlights the Singapore River's transformation ov
Visitors enjoying the fireworks display at the launch of River Hongbao 2019 last night. The giant junk boat replica houses an exhibition, “A Harbour And Home: The Singapore River Through Time”, which highlights the Singapore River’s transformation over the years.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Visitors enjoying the fireworks display at the launch of River Hongbao 2019 last night. The giant junk boat replica houses an exhibition, "A Harbour And Home: The Singapore River Through Time", which highlights the Singapore River's transformation ov
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Jurong GRC MP Ang Wei Neng (on the PM’s right, in yellow) taking a wefie with visitors yesterday at the launch of River Hongbao 2019.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Visitors enjoying the fireworks display at the launch of River Hongbao 2019 last night. The giant junk boat replica houses an exhibition, "A Harbour And Home: The Singapore River Through Time", which highlights the Singapore River's transformation ov
Towering over The Float @ Marina Bay is an 18m-tall God of Fortune. The River Hongbao features 22 lanterns, including the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, that light up the floating platform in a myriad of colours.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Display lasting 10 minutes the longest in event's history; this year's festivities one of the major events to mark bicentenary

This year's River Hongbao kicked off last night with a 10-minute fireworks display, the longest in the event's history.

A mainstay on Singapore's calendar of Chinese New Year festivities since 1987, this year's edition is one of the first major events of the year to commemorate the Singapore Bicentennial. The event was launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at The Float @ Marina Bay.

It featured a special 10-minute fireworks display at 10pm, on top of one-minute-long displays at 8pm and 9pm. About 120,000 people attended the event last night.

Last year's River Hongbao had nightly fireworks displays each lasting about three minutes.

The special displays, which will also take place today, Saturday and Sunday, are by award-winning teams from Australia, China, Italy and the United States.

These teams have performed at global icons such as San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and at major international events such as the Beijing and London Olympics.

Realtor Vienson Tan, 48, was at the event with his girlfriend and her parents for the second year running. They were especially excited to catch the fireworks and soak in the festive atmosphere.

Towering over the floating platform is an 18m-tall God of Fortune, which showered visitors with luck and fortune, in the form of gold flakes. "After standing underneath the falling gold flakes, I'm definitely going to buy 4D," Mr Tan quipped.

Fireworks lit up the Marina Bay skyline last night at the launch of this year's River Hongbao, which is one of the first major events of the year kicking off Singapore's bicentennial commemoration. The 10-minute fireworks display was the longest in t
Riot of colours at River Hongbao launch: Fireworks lit up the Marina Bay skyline last night at the launch of this year's River Hongbao, which is one of the first major events of the year kicking off Singapore's bicentennial commemoration. The 10-minute fireworks display was the longest in the event's 33-year history. It was put up by award-winning teams from Australia, China, Italy and the United States, which have done it over global icons such as San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last night, the event runs till Sunday and is expected to draw more than a million people to The Float @ Marina Bay. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Before pressing a button which lit up all the lanterns and exhibits simultaneously, PM Lee wished Singaporeans good health and a prosperous new year in Mandarin.

The River Hongbao features 22 lanterns, including the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, that light up the floating platform in myriad colours.

 
 

The largest lantern set is "Our Garden, Our Home", which is 60m long and 10m tall. It depicts events in Singapore's history, from Sang Nila Utama naming the island Singapura, or Lion City, to Singapore's growth as a transportation hub.

Dr Hari Yuvaraj, 28,attended the River Hongbao with his parents and cousins for the first time. "I know which year I was born in, so I went to check out my zodiac. Found out that I'm a horse, so it's going to be a good year in terms of wealth and health," he said.

Visitors can also view an exhibition located within a gigantic junk boat replica, "A Harbour And Home: The Singapore River Through Time", highlighting the Singapore River's transformation over the years.

River Hongbao 2019 is open from 2pm to 11pm daily till Sunday. Opening hours will be extended to 1am tonight. Admission is free.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2019, with the headline 'River Hongbao kicks off with fireworks galore'. Print Edition | Subscribe