Chinese New Year Shopping

- Singapore Chinatown Night Market 2012
- Photos of Past Night Markets

"There is no shopping frenzy like Chinese New
Year Shopping at Chinatown Singapore!"




On this page: [Night Market Photo Tour] [Tips for Travellers]




What:
Pre Chinese New Year Shopping @ Chinatown Singapore

Where:
Pagoda Street, Chinatown Singapore

When: 1-22 Jan 2012

(in conjunction with Chinatown Street Light Up)

Singapore Chinese New Year Photo Tour

Have a look at what happened during Chinese New Year 2007...

Chinatown Singapore - Girl on father's shoulder.
No kidding. In the weeks leading to Chinese New Year, everybody seems to be in Chinatown Singapore.

The streets here become Singapore's most exciting night market.

This lucky girl gets to ride on her dad's shoulders, and enjoy a vantage view of the Chinese New Year shopping frenzy.
Chinatown Singapore - Shopping for seasonal fruit at night market.
Everything you see here will have dashes of gold or red. We Chinese consider these colours to be auspicious.

Fruits with these colours are highly sought after.

So you'll find mountains of mandarins, kumquats, pomelos - and any fruit with a shade of yellow - at Chinatown's make-shift stalls.
Chinatown Singapore - Chinese sausage seller at the Chinese New Year night market.
A favourite around this time is the lap cheong, a waxed Chinese sausage used in many festive dishes.

Chinatown Singapore - Waxed piglet and sausages.
In February 2007, the Chinese ushered in the Year of the Golden Pig, which occurs only once every 60 years.

But there was no respite for this little pig. It was waxed, and hung here to be picked up by some hungry Chinese New Year shopper.
Chinatown Singapore - Waxed ducks.
Can you make out what these crumply creatures are? Can you see the rounded beaks and the webbed feet?

Yes, we Chinese love to eat ducks!

These ones are waxed in the traditional way. Before the fridge was invented, the Chinese waxed their poultry to preserve them.

It is supposed a delicacy for the Chinese. But I for one wouldn't even touch them!

Chinatown Singapore - Pig decorations.
Chinese New Year shopping is never complete until you buy some Chinese zodiac decoratives.

As I walked these energetic alleys, all manner of pigs stared at me - cardboard pigs, porcelain pigs, clay pigs, waxed pigs.
Chinatown Singapore - Pig figurines.
These piglets make you want to smile, don't they?
Chinatown Singapore - Fridge magnets.
During the Chinese New Year shopping season, the shops try to sell everything to everyone, including these fridge magnets.

These ones pronounce blessings: prosperity, abundance, luck.
Chinatown Singapore - Lanterns galore.
Lanterns are also in abundance, again in red and gold fabrics.
Chinatown Singapore - Painted fans.
During the Chinese New Year shopping season, many shoppers buy on impulse. And the vendors know it.

The offerings in Chinatown are amazing, with wares ranging from the essential to the ridiculous.

Fans like these ones on the left are obviously eye-catching. But I don't think the locals buy things like that during the off-season.
Chinatown Singapore - Foil-wrapped sweets.
The word 吉 (fortune), with a red base on a golden ball, is supposed to be a very auspicious symbol.

Many folks hang these decorations up during Chinese New Year. The older folks in my family swear by them.

Each time I see these balls, though, the cynic in me begins to wonder...

If they are so auspicious, why haven't the owners become ridiculously rich yet?

So that in following years, they could afford to hang up real golden balls and S$10k notes instead?
Chinatown Singapore - Calligrapher at work.
The calligrapher at work...

In a bygone era, he was a celebrity of sorts, because he doubled as a letter writer for illiterate migrant workers.

It was the only way these early immigrants could communicate with loved ones in China.

Today, he is more likely to write for a very different customer - the curious non-Chinese tourist.
Chinatown Singapore - Calligraphy for sale.
Left scroll:
Welcome, Prosperity.

Right scroll:
Harmony at home, happiness in all things.

These scrolls would grace many Chinese homes during the Chinese New Year festivities.

Chinese New Year shopping usually involves buying some of these writings, with pronouncements of blessings.
Chinatown Singapore - Lanterns decorate shophouse.
The House of Red Lanterns!
Chinatown Singapore - Window Advertisements.
The banners on these shophouses scream at the shoppers.

These are not words of blessings; they entice shoppers to try the delicious dishes served here.
Chinatown Singapore - Neon advertisment.
A brightly-lit advertisement belonging to a very famous BBQ meat chain - Bee Hock Guan.
Chinatown Singapore - Lit, ultra-big hongbaos on bridge.
More words of blessings:
May your business(es) prosper!
Chinatown Singapore - Over-street light decorations during Chinese New Year.
Yet more words of blessings.
 

Chinese New Year Shopping in Singapore 2012 - Tips for Tourists

If you want to soak up the Chinese New Year atmosphere in Singapore, visit during the 2-3 weeks leading up to Chinese New Year's Day (1-22 Jan 2012). Head down to Chinatown's alleys - you'll see the Chinese New Year shopping frenzy.

This is also the time to take in the fascinating street performances in Chinatown Singapore, especially at the Kreta Ayer Square area.

Do note that 23-24 Jan 2012 are Chinese New Year holidays in Singapore. And the shopping suddenly stops on these days. Many of the smaller shops and restaurants are closed - only a few (and I mean very few) department stores are open. Chinese Singaporeans will use this time to either visit relatives or go on a short vacation overseas.

If you visit during these 2 days, you won't see much action on the streets, except for the River Hongbao Carnival at night.

Getting here:
Hail a taxi. Or take the MRT train to Chinatown Station. Look for the Pagoda Street / Temple Street exit. Go up the escalator and before you come out into the open, you'd hear the rumblings of Singapore's most energetic shopping event.

Related Chinese New Year Celebrations

2012 Chinese New Year - Some Highlights

pointer 2012 Chinese New Year Street Performance

pointer Chingay 2012 - Chinese New Year Street Parade

pointer Chinese New Year Carnival - River Hong Bao 2012

pointer Chinese New Year Fireworks

pointer Sentosa Flowers Festival 2012



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RECOMMENDED
CHINATOWN HOTELS

Furama City Centre Hotel Singapore - Double room.
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Hotel Re Singapore - Good hotel in Singapore Chinatown.
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The Scarlet Hotel Singapore - Good boutique hotel in Singapore Chinatown.
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