Mention Chingay and scenes of festivity and conviviality come to mind.
What started out as a Chinese street procession 44 years ago has morphed into a highly anticipated uniquely Singapore annual event today. With the various injections of performances by different cultural groups and international troupes - vibrant floats, dancing dragons, prancing lions, stilt walkers, wushu masters, performers of different races in their traditional costumes and many, many more! - the street parade is truly a multi-cultural affair.
This year, Asia's largest street performance and float parade is back to wow everyone on 19 and 20 February at F1 Pit Building and judging from the behind-the-scenes experience that our family had, it is going to be one spectacular show!
Themed “Lights of Legacy, Brighter Singapore”, Chingay 2016 promises to be the brightest ever with the biggest full-scale illuminated show. The theme is also inspired by the legacy of our Founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew and founding fathers.
Together, the parade celebrates the values embodied by our Pioneers such as Racial Harmony and Social Cohesion, Caring Community, Resilience as a Nation, Can-Do Singapore Spirit and Uphold high moral values.
It is one thing to watch the parade live at the F1 Pit Building, but it is another experience altogether having the opportunity to see the preparation and hard work that goes into making the parade come to life.
In total, Chingay 2016 will see 8,000 performers from 150 organisations, with another 2,000 parade volunteers from schools and associations supporting them. Definitely no mean feat, and what is even more remarkable is the parade features many veteran performers who have been volunteering year in year out.
So not only did the monkies get the chance to see some of the props and floats up close, they got a first hand look at some of the pre-parade buzz before the actual combined first rehearsal began proper.
And soon, it was time for the action to take flight!
Being a full dress rehearsal, the spectator stands were pretty empty. But that did not stop all of the performers from giving their all and their enthusiasm clearly showed - and it was pretty infectious too!
Consisting of 5 segments altogether, Segment One kick-started the parade (and Singapore's voyage towards SG100) with a 360m-long lighted opening, 800 youth performers and a Sky Stage Show.
And what would Chingay be without dragons? Keep your eyes peeled for the various special effects Dragons including the “Lighted LED Flying Dragon” from Xi’an, China during Segment Two of the parade.
This segment carries the theme of 'Because We are Different, We are One', so expect plenty of multi-cultural performances – Chinese, Malay and Indian - as different inter-religious groups come together to perform as a harmonious community.
In fact, Chingay 2016 marks the first time in its history that an item will be presented by the lnter-Religious Organisation (IRO) and features a collaboration with 30 religious groups!
International cultures then took centrestage in their fullest vibrancy in Segment Three's 'Friends All Over the World'. With various performances by The Japanese Association Singapore, Si Hai Meng Xun from China, Indonesia, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam, each group put up a rousing performance.
Segment Four's 'A Vibrant and United Community' saw communities from diverse backgrounds taking over the tarmac.
Besides boasting a travelling dance contingent showcasing various performing arts & dance genres, this segment probably captivated the monkies most due to the incorporation of circus acts... including twirling of (heavy) fire poles!
The Finale in Segment Five was signalled by the appearance of 800 youth performers using different lighted props. This will also be the time where the 25,000 spectators on each night will be given handheld light bulbs to light up the night and symbolise a brighter future Singapore. Of course, rest assured that there will be a round of spectacular fireworks display to cap off the night's festivities!
We did not get to see any handheld light bulbs or fireworks during our preview session - it was a combined full-dress rehearsal after all - but if you ask the monkies (and SengkangBabies) - they will tell you that they enjoyed the parade all the same.
There are 2 parade shows on 19 and 20 Feb 2016 and from what I understand, there are only very limited tickets left!
But if you are unable to go down to soak in the Chingay atmosphere, fret not. The Chingay Night Fiesta will be happening at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on 21 Feb 2016 from 6.30pm to 10pm and it is FREE FOR ALL!
On the day of the fiesta, the park will be decorated with about 8,000 lanterns bearing illustrations by Singaporeans that reflect values such as racial harmony and social cohesion. In addition, on display will be 2,000 lighted cubes, which will feature drawings by students about what they hope Singapore will be when the country turns 100. Among the acts planned are a combined martial arts demonstration of silat, taiji and silambaatam, an Indian fighting form; an Indian dance; and a multiracial dragon dance.
Dates: 19 & 20 Feb 2016
Time: 8pm (Pre-Parade: 7pm)
Venue: F1 Pit Building
Ticket Prices: 19 Feb - $28.50, $40 & $50 | 20 Feb - $28.50, $50 & $60
*20% discount for PAssion Card holders
For tickets, visit HERE.
Chingay Night Fiesta 2016
Date: 21 Feb 2016
Time: 6.30pm - 10pm
Venue: Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park