Chinese New Year at Thian Hock Keng temple
Thian Hock Keng’s Chinese New Year event is primarily planned for devotees to offer their prayers and visitors are always welcomed. To manage the devotee’s privacy and visitor’s desire to capture every moment of the experience, the management has skillfully satisfied the needs of every stakeholder.
Something for everyone
Visitors are welcomed to photograph and video the celebrations except the main hall where prayers are held. As the celebration also attract many non-Chinese including tourists and expatriates, English and Chinese information on Chinese New Year are presented on walls of the temple.
The flow of events tends to follow the same format; prayers before mid-night followed by welcoming the New Year with Chinese puppet show, dragon dance and lion dance as a standard mainstay. The performances differ from year to year generating a degree of suspense and surprise.
New year arrives
Just before the New Year arrives, the dragon and lion dance entered through the main door along with the popular God of Wealth. They have just enough time to pay respects to all the deities in the temple before the performance to usher in the New Year.
The God of Wealth then made his entrance again and this time with the cartoon version of the Three Stars, Fu, Lu and Shou. The candy from the God of Wealth is always a hot item and when he finished his rounds, the space is cleared for the lion dance. As usual, the lion dance ends with a plate of oranges arranged for people to decipher the lucky numbers.
Till next year
After this performance, visitors generally take another round of photos and then the crowd slowly disperses with many heading to streets of Singapore Chinatown where New Year goodies can be found at bargain prices.
Many of these visitors will tell their friends about the Thian Hock Keng experience during the New Year visits and many will return next year creating a bigger crowd.
Event date: 30 Jan 2014