Chinese New Year, Singapore 2008
As in Chinatowns around the world, Chinese New Year markets emerge before Chinese New Year offering a wide variety of food and merchandise required for the Chinese New Year celebrations.
This year, there are several New Year markets in Singapore Chinatown. These include the area in front of People’s Park Market, along Spring Street, next to Outram Park MRT as well as the area around Smith, Temple and Pagoda Street.
See video clip of new year market next to Outram Park MRT.
Linking these markets are individual shops and restaurants decorated to promote their respective Chinese New Year goods and services. The markets and shops become interlinked to create a gigantic New Year market.
Singapore Chinatown has also been lighted with lanterns and displays inspired from Walt Disney characters. Many of the decorations creatively use Mickey Mouse character and associate it with the year of the Rat. This association demonstrates how traditional notions can also be fun and fluid and incorporates icons that children, non Chinese and tourists can relate to.
The multicultural and multi religious facet of Singapore also illuminates during Chinese New Year. The Sri Mariamman temple (Hindu) and Masjid Jamab (Chulia) Mosque have both put out banners wishes Chinese community a Happy Chinese New Year.
These are the little gestures that sends big signal about the harmony and success of a multi racial and multi religious society.
At one end of Chinatown, there is a gigantic electronic New Year scroll with colorful creative New Year greetings. Each evening, the pictures are projected on the building producing a highly attractive visual display. On the streets around this electronic New Year scroll, many people armed with their video camera or cameras were capturing the sights of the scroll. See the scroll in the video clip.
Anyone who arrives at Singapore Chinatown will inevitably walk through the New Year Markets. Stores in the New Year market typically offer food and candies, flowers, New Year ornaments, home accessories and clothes.
The food stores offer all possible food items required for the celebrations. You can find popular items like candies, cookies, chocolates, nuts, preserved foodstuff, traditional Chinese pastry especially the New Year cake, Nian gao 年糕, and prosperity cake发糕 and of course Mandarin oranges.
One of the anchor products this season seems to be jelly candies form Taiwan. Many stores specialized in it and shoppers were invited to sample them. They also have friendly, humorous sales guys encouraging customers to try or to buy their products. These sales guys are often playful but friendly and professional.
Flower stores offer New Year flowers like willows and plum blossom as well as bamboo, Chrysanthemums, orchids and other exotic flowers and plants imported for the period. Other stores offer Chinese New Year decorations like banners, buntings, ornaments, New Year scrolls, New Year cards and even red packets.
Meanwhile, CD and DVD stores blast Chinese New Year songs and music amplifying the festive mood.
The markets, New Year decorations, crowds, sights and sound creates an unparallel ambience for Chinese New Year period. It attracts shoppers, tourists and anyone who wants to feel the Chinese New year atmosphere.
Most of the markets are opened till the Chinese New Year eve and are favorite destinations for families after the reunion dinner.