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Chinese New Year - 2014

London, United...
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Chinese New Year - 2014

Having just returned from a great trip ... and have another in a few months I'd appreciate some help in thinking about an early 2014 trip.

I've been to Singapore a couple of times over CNY and all I can really recall is some things being closed and a great firework display. Next year I'd like to really grasp the occaision and immerse ourselves a bit more if we can.

I'd like to join in a bit more with the genuine festivities ie visit restuarants and places that the Chinese themselves use over the period. If there are festivities that we're the only non-Chinese there then all the better. If all we have is the atmosphere but can't understand a word ... I don't really mind. It's the experience we're after.

So the guidance I'm seeking is are all festivities home based or are they shareable by an outsider? If so what sort of things should we try to join? Or should we simply pick a different time to go?

Any ideas appreciated.

Singapore
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1. Re: Chinese New Year - 2014

Hi uk4,

IMO, to truly experience any festivities here, you need to be directly involved otherwise you will feel like you are on the sideline and just looking in. It is just not the same with visiting Chinatown and soaking up the atmosphere there. Partaking in festive goodies and rites will hold more significant if you understand them. Fortunately, many Singaporeans are generous in opening their houses to foreign friends during such occasions.

In all your past visits to Singapore, have you not been able to make any local friends here? What about in TA? You better start cracking. ;-)

Just my thoughts........since you asked....

Manila, Philippines
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2. Re: Chinese New Year - 2014

Hi uk4,

We went to the CNY 2013 festivities in Hong Kong and we had lots of fun. We liked the fireworks and parade. There are personal tourist guides that can take you around as well although we didn't get this option because we had our itinerary packed just from research. We hopped on a jetty and checked out Macau for a day.

Hope this helps.

Singapore
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3. Re: Chinese New Year - 2014

Chinese New Year is by no means the only time to immerse yourself in local culture. If your next visit coincides with Hungry Ghoast, go check out the performances and auctions held in many suburban estates. For sure you will not fully understand what is happening and it should be quite a different experience!

Otherwise CNY, unless you are invited to a local's place, is just about going into the thick of it around Smith St where the shops lay out all the seasonal wares.

London, United...
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4. Re: Chinese New Year - 2014

I really appreciate the tip about the Hungry Ghost Festival as I had never heard of it. Although my post was about our visit during CNY, by coincidence we're also there from 5th to 21st August this year. From what I can see it starts on the 1st to 28th August? Can you suggest some really places we could had for - preferable where we might be the only strangers?

Any pointers appreciated.

Thanks again.

Edited: 28 March 2013, 22:01
Australia
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5. Re: Chinese New Year - 2014

We went to the Chingay Parade this year and it was amazing. It was packed with tourists and locals alike and we really felt like part of the community. When the Prime minister and his wife arrived and other local celebrities we could feel the excitement. And on leaving, every worker we walked past smiled and said good bye to us like they knew us and we had been to friends party. We also went into Chinatown on the last night of CNY and mixed withe the locals as the Lion Dancers performed in front of a Chinese Club and there was a concert near the Peoples Market where many elderly Chinese had gathered. I know this is not what you are after but as a friend who lives in Singapore said "the Chinese sure know how to party".

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6. Re: Chinese New Year - 2014

Peoples Market might be wrong - near the night markets in Chinatown.

Singapore, Singapore
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7. Re: Chinese New Year - 2014

bakermob is referring to the Space between the Smith Street Market & Food Centre & the Buddha Relic Temple. Where usually during Festive season, there will be some concert, chinese Opera Or Prayer ceremony going on. That another place to check during the Hungry ghost Festival.

And NOTE, Do NOT steps on those Joss stick or Burnt Paper ($$$ to the deceased) Or burnt spot left from those ceremony prayer Or comment anything around the Ceremony place.......Cos U dun want anything to follow U home. No, me not scaring U, just telling U wat to observe if U do check out Ghost Festival.

Good Luck

Edited: 29 March 2013, 06:41
Singapore
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8. Re: Chinese New Year - 2014

And NEVER, NEVER sit on the first row when watching the concert/ Chinese Wayang /performances even though the seats are vacant!

Edited: 29 March 2013, 09:19
London, United...
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9. Re: Chinese New Year - 2014

Yes I'd read about the guests in the front row. This has given us a lot to look forward to for our August visit as well as the next CNY so we're really looking forward to it.

Singapore
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10. Re: Chinese New Year - 2014

Uk4, during Hungry Ghosts there will be lots of events in suburban estates like Toa Payoh where there are auctions and performances (getai) in Chinese. Try googling "getai events" a little closer to the date, I tried and it may be too early right now.

FYI other festivals to consider for planning purposes throughout the year are Deepavali (Diwali) around October, Hari Raya Puasa (Id) around August/ September, Thaipusam in January (this is really worth it), and for Chinese culture another fun one is the Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhong Chiu Jie) when paper lanterns and moon cakes are the things to Indulge in. There is a nice lantern display at Clarke Quay.