The 2019 guide to celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore for families

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From how to get your house ready to fun events for the family - we cover it all!

There’s actually plenty to do and prepare when celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore. It’s best to plan your time now as the the countdown to the Year of the Pig 2019 inches closer (5 February 2019, to be exact).

Here is theAsianparent’s definitive guide for parents to celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore 2019 as a family.

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore 2019

Getting the family and house ready

1. Prepare for questions

celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore: Get ready for the barrage of questions from your children | Source: File photo

As your kids grow up, they’ll be asking more “why” questions when it comes to traditional Chinese customs. The common superstitions will definitely be on their list, like not sweeping the floor, no cutting hair and why there are a lot of oranges in the kitchen. Brush up your knowledge with our list of Chinese New Year superstitions before the festivities begin.

2. Schedule house cleaning

Cleaning your house before Chinese New Year symbolises getting rid of bad luck to made away for good fortune. If you’re busy working parents, call a cleaning service early as you can expect cleaners to be fully booked closer to the auspicious date. 

In the meantime, how about getting rid of clutter around the house? As a family, all of you can throw away broken items and donate/recycle old clothes and toys that are no longer used. Tell your kids that they will be doing a good deed for the less fortunate.

3. Buy red, avoid black

celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore

When celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore, dressing up the whole family in red for Chinese New Year can be fun, and also bring a lot of luck | Source: Dreamstime

There’s a reason why the colour red is everywhere during the Lunar New Year – it’s the colour of prosperity! With old clothes out of the away, it’s time to refresh your children’s wardrobe. Go colour matching in all red as a family when you visit your parents, but you can also mix it up with lighter colours like blue, white, orange and pink.

Avoid darker colours as they represent misfortune and bad luck.

4. Plan for the Angbaos

celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore

Plan your “Angbao budget” accordingly, when celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore | Source: File photo

Giving out Angbaos is auspicious – the red packets symbolise prosperity and good luck. Get a head start for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations by listing down all potential recipients so you know how much to ang pow to give for Chinese New Year. Don’t forget to include all your family members, and your kids’ friends who might visit during the celebrations.

5. Decorate the house

What better way to get into the Chinese New Year spirit than to decorate the house as a family. You can buy some DIY stationary kits for the whole family to do together – creating and decorating cut-out pigs in conjunction with the Year of the Pig. Or maybe visit Chinatown to buy decorations. Speaking of visiting Chinatown…

Fun events for Singapore families this CNY

6. Visit Chinatown

celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore

The Chinatown Chinese New Year celebrations back in 2016 | Source: File photo

Near the end of January every year, Chinatown starts to welcome Chinese New Year with a host of fun activities. You and the kids can buy decorations, watch the stage shows and lion dance competition, as well as eat all the festive delicacies they have to offer at the street bazaar.

There’s also a piglet themed light-up display adorning the streets of Chinatown by the Singapore University of Technology and Design, which when seen from above forms a giant carp. Celebrations kick off 19 January 2019 and will last until 6 March 2019.

7. Bring your kids to the Singapore River Hongbao Festival

celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore

Expect the biggest fireworks show of all time at the bicentennial celebration of River Hongbao 2019 | Source: River Hongbao

Check out the annual River Hongbao festival on the 15th day of Chinese New Year. There’s fireworks to see, lanterns to take Instagram pictures with your children and performances to enjoy. Truly a coming together of Chinese culture. The River Hongbao 2019 will be held at The Float @ Marina Bay from 3 February onwards. More information and tickets can be purchased at the official website.

8. Experience the Chingay Parade together

celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore

The Chingay Parade is a uniquely Singaporean tradition every Chinese New Year | Source: Chingay Parade

Since firecrackers are banned, how about warding away evil spirits at the Chingay Parade instead? Mooted as a replacement to firecrackers by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, the first parade in 1973 showcased the best aspects in Chinese culture (think dragon and lion dances, marital arts and street opera).

Today, the Chingay Parade is a the largest street performance and float parade in Asia. It’s evolved into a multicultural performance of various backgrounds and races. It happens every year around Chinese New Year at the F1 Pit Building. Bring your kids to Chingay 2019 on 15 and 16 February 2019, at 8:00pm. Buy your tickets here.

9. Shop till you drop at The Lunar Bazaar

Why bother squeezing in a crowded mall when you can find everything you need to prepare for Chinese New Year with the family here – clothes, gifts, decorations, plants, antiques and so much more. Head to Viva Business Park between 7 to 13 January, and 21 to 29 January.

10. Learn Chinese culture at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre

celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore

Usher in the Year of the Pig at 1 Straits Boulevard, Singapore 018906 | Source: Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre

On the 12 and 13 of January, the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre opens its doors for a weekend of family filled activities. Hunt for the God of Fortune, join craft and cultural workshops and win a limited-edition “singing” red packet. Learn more here.

11. Inspire your kids’ creativity at these Chinese New Year craft workshops

celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore

Here’s one way for your kids to learn while celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore | Source: Frasers Experience

Frasers’ shopping malls will be hosting Chinese New Year craft workshops from 12 January and 17 February, and each mall will have their own unique classes. Your kids can learn Zodiac balloon sculpting, making Tang Yuan, making Chinese New Year wreaths and plenty more. Click here to find out which class is happening near you.

12. Get a tour of the Istana

celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore

Take the chance to visit the Istana with the family if you haven’t | Source: The Istana Open House website

The Istana is open to the public on selected dates each year, and in 2019 it will open its doors on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year. There’s lots to see and do for the whole family, including a variety of live performances and guided tours of the gorgeous gardens on the Istana grounds. The Istana opens from 8:30am to 6pm. Entry is free for Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents, but guided tours for a family of four is S$12.

We hope this guide on celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore 2019 has been useful. Huat Ah!

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Written by

Nicholas Yong

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