Chingay, the largest street performance and float parade in Asia is back to wow Singapore on 19 & 20 February at F1 Pit Building this year!
With vibrant floats, dancing dragons, prancing lions, stilt walkers, wushu masters, performers of different races in their traditional costumes and many, many more… This yearly street parade has truly become a uniquely Singaporean tradition that we look forward to every Lunar New Year.
Whether you have joined Chingay as a spectator, watch it from home with your family, or even joined as a performer, Chingay is definitely no stranger to Singaporeans. However, how much do we know about Chingay? Have you ever wondered what does the word Chingay actually means?
Chingay is actually equivalent to the Mandarin word ‘Zhuang Yi’ (妆艺), which means “the art of costume and masquerade” in the Hokkien dialect. You might also be surprise to know that Chingay was first mooted by the then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew who was also the chairman of the People’s Association (PA) to compensate for the ban on firecrackers, a customary New Year practice to drive away evil spirits with its noise and gaiety.
“Lights of Legacy, Brighter Singapore” 智 慧 灯 海, 璀 璨 新 加 坡
The official theme for Chingay Parade 2016 is “Lights of Legacy, Brighter Singapore” As the theme suggests, Chingay 2016 will 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 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.
- Lights Of Legacy
Chingay 2016 represents our first step towards SG100 after our milestone SG50 celebrations where Singaporeans from diverse backgrounds come together to celebrate core values important to Singapore. Together we celebrate these values that have transformed us from a fishing village into a modern metropolis and bring us forward into the future with confidence.
- Celebrating Racial and Religious Harmony
During the segment called “Because We Are Different, We Are One”, we got to see for the first time in Chingay’s history, an item presented by the lnter-Religious Organisation (IRO) and their collaboration with 30 religious groups.
We will also see various Special Effects Dragons including the “Lighted LED Flying Dragon” and Multi-cultural performances – Chinese, Malay and Indian Cultural performances.
Meet Sunita Raj, 43, who will be participating in the Indian contingent this year. This is her 4th time joining Chingay and she has even roped in her non-Indian friends Esther, Mia, Azhari and Remo to join the Indian Contingent for the segment’s Indian dance Performance. Sunita appreciates the efforts by her friends as they come for night trainings despite long days at work. The cross cultural experience is especially enriching for all her Chinese and Malay friends taking part in the Indian contingent this year. They have also made many new friends from various dialect groups and races, and will continue to stay connected after Chingay.
“I am happy to share about the history of my culture with my friends of the different races as they learn our dance and wear our Indian costumes. I also got to understand their culture and religions through our interaction. This helped to strengthen our inter-racial understanding and respect for each other’s cultures and traditions,” said Sunita.
Alicia Chan, 7, will also be performing in the Indian Dance performance at Chingay 2016 with her friends! She first started off learning ballet at Toa Payoh South CC. But, the dance steps, music, costumes and accessories of the Indian dance class next door caught her eyes (and ears!).
She soon switched over and got to know many Indian friends who further fanned her interest in the Indian culture. This is her first time at Chingay and she is proud to be a part of the action with her friends!
This segment also takes on a special meaning as the racial and religious harmony Singaporeans enjoy today was forged through trials of fire. It is something we must never take for granted.
- Caring for the less fortunate
From performers to spectators, here at Chingay we celebrate as one where age, race, language and creed are no barriers. Amidst the celebration, it is also important that we remember those who are less fortunate than us.
To keep Chingay an inclusive event, PA will be inviting 5,500 beneficiaries from Voluntary Welfare Organisations and their caregivers to the Parade. Thanks to the support and sponsorship from many individuals and corporations.
- Caring for our environment
One of the key highlights that you will not miss out at Chingay 2016 is the 8,000 ‘Sky Lanterns’ which will be used as performance props to light up the evening. Each spectator will also be given hand-held light bulb.
These lanterns will be reused and exhibited at the PAssionArts Festival 2016 and community events such as National Day Celebrations after Chingay 2016. After that, they will be handed over to a recycling firm approved by NEA to be responsibly recycled. The proceeds from the recycling will go towards charity.
The proceeds from the recycling will go towards charity.
- Coming together as one united community
Chingay Parade could well be a treasured glimpse into the different cultures of Singapore and it is the people like you and me that play a part in building a cohesive and harmonious society that we live in today. Through the segment “United and Vibrant Community”, we are able to see performances put up by communities from diverse background, showcasing the vibrancy of our community through various performing arts and dance genres.
Meet Christina, 39 and Amy, 48, the bubbly and enthusiastic duo who will be participating in Chingay as part of the Women’s Executive Committees’ (WEC) performance, “Move Community, We Are One”. This is the 3rd time that Christina is participating in Chingay. She shared that Chingay gives her the chance to meet people from all walks of life and experience multi-cultural, multi-racial works of art. She especially loves all the dazzling costumes! For Amy, this is a first-time experience. Having recently recovered her health, she’s excited to join her fellow WEC mates to perform.
Keep a look-out for them at Chingay 2016!
B) Brighter Singapore – Confidence in our future
As we look back at the values that have made us uniquely Singaporean, we can also look to the future with confidence.
- Biggest Full-Scale Illuminated Performance at Chingay
This is best represented by the parade’s Opening act “Voyage SG 100” and the Finale item “Lights of Legacy, Brighter Singapore”, which will be an illuminated performance involving 3,000 Singaporeans, of which 800 are youths. Their performance symbolises a youth-led nation for the next 50 years and signifies that our progress so far can only be sustained if we are a caring community, where no one is left behind.
We also caught up with Vinny Lai, 17, a first-time participant at this year’s Chingay. She’s a part of the PAYM contingent and shares that she is very excited about this year’s parade.
“Every year, I look forward to Chingay as there is always something new – from the costumes, performances to the theme. This year, the audience can look forward to the biggest full scale illuminated show in Chingay history, which I am elated to be a part of and a 50-metre tall sky stage, which will feature aerial performances. While training for the performance, I am also reminded of our nation’s values, which I must uphold as Singapore heads towards the next 50 years.”
- Community Engagement
Members of the public also got the chance to contribute to a “brighter” Singapore in the four-month lead up to Chingay. More than 50,000 youths from schools and youth groups have been participating in two Community Engagement Programmes:
a. 200,000 Singaporeans from all walks of life will be customising 8,000 ‘Sky Lanterns’ with their hopes and wishes for the future. They will add illustrations and signatures that pledge support towards our shared values. The Sky Lanterns will be presented as part of the Parade Finale and at the Chingay Night Fiesta.
b. Youths paint their ideal Singapore in 2065
2,500 lighted cubes are being painted by 50,000 young children and youths that represent their ideal Singapore in 2065. Friends and family members will add their signatures to these paintings as a show of support for the youths’ aspirations for the future of Singapore.
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