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The Ultimate Guide to Chinese New Year in Singapore
Small Business and Self-Employed

The Ultimate Guide to Chinese New Year in Singapore

The majority of Chinese people in Singapore celebrate Chinese New Year, though the rest of the city’s cosmopolitan residents also get swept up in the annual festivities that last for weeks. The lunar new year's first day occurs between the winter solstice (dongzhi) and the start of spring (lichun). This happens every year between 21st January and 20th February and follows the phases of the new moon. The official last day of the festival culminates in a lantern festival celebrating the new full moon.

In Singapore, Chinese New Year presents a time for celebrating with family, making prayers for prosperity, and going all out for dining, shopping, and various entertainment, mostly in and around the Chinatown enclave.

Chinese New Year in Singapore's Chinatown

The island state's traditional Chinese neighbourhood transforms into a festive wonderland of lanterns, street vendors, and performing arts during the Chinese New Year Celebrations. The activities centre mainly around Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road, but festivities stretch as far as Marina Bay.

Things to Do and See in Chinatown

Eu Tong Sen Street, New Bridge Road, and South Bridge Road—three important streets in Chinatown—will be illuminated with traditional Chinese lanterns and vibrant street lights as street entertainers, acrobats, and lion dancers bring a festival spirit to the streets. Everywhere you go, there will be red and gold decorations, two auspicious colours representing vitality and prosperity.

On Lunar New Year’s Day itself, there is always a countdown party on the streets of Chinatown. Join the party as a celebrity-led show delights Singaporeans who come together to wish each other a happy new year and enjoy the show.

There are nightly shows every evening at 8 pm during the two weeks of the festival. Chinese traditional acts like martial arts, lion dances, and Chinese opera are presented on stage by local and international cultural performance groups. Go and see performances every evening in Kreta Ayer Square, close to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.

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Shopping and Dining

Chinese New Year in Singapore is closely associated with delicious food and festive trinkets. More than 400 stalls are set up to sell the usual New Year's decorations, emblazoned with whichever zodiac sign is upcoming. You'll also find flowers, food, and Chinese handicrafts. Try out the freshly baked cookies, waxed duck, and barbecued sweetmeats, or buy some traditional Chinese New Year decorations to commemorate the occasion.

Singapore River Hongbao Carnival

There’s an annual Hongbao river carnival along the Singaporean riverside. The term "Hongbao" refers to the customary red money packets that older Chinese family members present to younger, unmarried relatives at Chinese New Year.

At the carnival, take in nightly cultural events, traditional Chinese art, and enormous lanterns modelled after famous Singapore landmarks. Visitors can enjoy traditional crafts like writing their names in Chinese calligraphy or getting a zodiac reading to predict their destiny. Of course, as ever in Singapore, there are always plenty of delectable treats to try.

The Chingay Parade

The Chingay Parade is the real centrepiece of the festivities - a dazzling parade of performers celebrating both the coming of Spring and the melting pot of Singapore itself. It tells the story of Singapore's journey as well as emphasises the transition of one year to the next for the city’s inhabitants. 

The two-night street party features thousands of performers from all over the world and is the climax of the New Year celebrations in Singapore. 

Symbolic Meaning of Chinese New Year

Across the Chinese diaspora, Chinese New Year is a time of reflection and it’s no different for Singaporeans. 

You'll see the colour red everywhere throughout Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year and Spring Festival. It stands for happiness and good fortune. Additionally, red lanterns are put on doors to fend against ill luck and evil spirits.

The celebration of the new year revolves heavily around food. On New Year's Eve and throughout the two-week celebrations, families frequently get together for large feasts. The Chinese New Year feast includes fish, which is highly significant. Fish is a symbol of wealth and prosperity because, in Chinese, the word for fish sounds like the word for abundance. You'll also see tangerines and oranges as decorations during Chinese New Year since they also represent good fortune. Almond pastries, candies, and dumplings are also thought to be lucky foods. 

Much of the celebrations in Singapore still revolve around the idea of what will be auspicious and bring luck. The New Year is a time to start afresh, make a new beginning, sweep out the old, and welcome in the new. This is why you’ll often see Singaporeans literally sweeping out and cleaning their houses at this time. The whole purpose is to have everything in place to give you the best chance for success of any form in the coming year

Another common practice is to organize your finances and pay any debts owed. It’s considered bad luck to go into a new year while still owing money and Singaporeans place tremendous importance on starting the new year with a clean slate.

As a result, business owners in Singapore like to organize their finances in the run-up to the Chinese New Year.

Organize Your Finances With QuickBooks

QuickBooks' powerful accounting software can give small and medium business owners the peace of mind to transition into the new year with confidence. 

With automated invoicing set up to suit your needs, you will no longer need to keep track of your regular invoicing manually. Set up invoicing to your specifications, and let the software do the rest for you. 

Automatic tracking of both income and expenses will give you a concise, comprehensive view of the state of your business so that you always know where you stand coming up to the new year. With sophisticated reporting and forecasting, you can take a look at the upcoming year to get an idea of where your business will be further down the line.

And, with automated accounting software, you don’t need to worry about tax season. QuickBooks will help you be ready by automating your accounting processes and cash flow management, taking some stress away in the process. 

These features offer just a hint at the range of QuickBooks features that provide customers with an easy-to-manage solution tailored to their business needs.

Check out the different pricing plans to find a solution that works for you. 

Wherever you are in the world, we wish you a Happy Chinese New Year!

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