The Vibrant Colors of the Chingay Parade!!!
This national event is also the largest street performance and float parade in Asia.Having performers of different races in their traditional costumes and many more, the chingay parade is one the most attractive colorful events in Singapore to look for.The word chingay is derived from the chinese term zhuangyi, meaning “the art of masquerading”.Although in celebration with the birthdays of the Chinese deities or the procession of the Goddess of Mercy (Guanyin) as part of the Chinese New Year festivities, in modern times now Chingay has become a uniquely Singaporean Lunar New Year tradition, held during the first weekend of the Lunar New Year. This yearly street parade is now a national festival, celebrated by Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians alike.
After a bill was passed down for banning of firecrackers due to deaths and injuries from fatal explosions in June 1972 unhappiness arose among the public causing lack of enthusiasm for the occasion. As an alternative, then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew suggested the staging of a Chingay parade similar to those held in Penang.Organised by the People’s Association and National Pugilistic Federation, the first modern Chingay procession in Singapore was held on 4 February 1973 and involved about 2,000 participants. The procession made its way from Victoria School in Jalan Besar to Outram Park, led by a large statue of a bull to signify the Year of the Ox.The theme of the parade is usually based on the Chinese zodiac animal for the new lunar year, as well as featuring a range of other performers and floats.Based on its initial success, the Chingay parade became an annual event.
Now held over two days, the event takes place around the Lunar New Year season but not always on the 15th day. Known for its carnival atmosphere, it is now a multi-cultural event that includes not only Chinese but also other ethnic groups. Since 1974, the singapore event has also incorporated regional influences and foreign participants as well.With the promotion of Singapore as a tourist destination and a greater emphasis on attractions that would draw visitors, the Chingay parade has evolved into a tourist attraction that is well known even outside Singapore.For visitors to our shores, it also offers a glimpse into what makes Singapore so unique.