[Dec.07 Singapore] Chinggay Parade of Dreams ? Asia’s grandest Street & Floats Parade
Chinggay Parade of Dreams ? Asia’s grandest Street & Floats Parade
Cho, Joung Pil Singapore Correspondent
Chinggay Parade in Singapore
The every first Saturday after the Chinese New Year celebrations, a grand parade is made on Orchard road, Singapore. This parade is called ‘Chinggay Parade’, which showcases exotic cultural performances from all over the world. On the average around 2000 local and foreign performers participate.
Chinggay parade started in Singapore in 1973 at the proposal of the former Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew to substitute the firecracker, the integral aspect of Chinese New Year Eve’s celebrations. The firecracker was banned in Singapore in1972 after two unarmed policemen were attacked on New Year's Eve as they attempted to prevent celebrants at Upper Serangoon Road, Singapore from letting off firecrackers without a permit.
Chinggay parade in Singapore is the reminiscent of the Chinese and religious Penang Chinggay, Penang Chinggay started in the 19th century as a perpetuation of the procession held in China two weeks after the New Year to welcome the spring. The first Singaproe Chinggay parade was organized by the People's Association and the Singapore National Pugilistic Federation. It was not religious like Penang Chinggay parade but totally Chinese. Around 2,000 participants were Chinese. The first Chinggay parade consisted of a procession of stilt-walkers, big - headed dolls, pugilistic groups and mini operas with lion and dragon dancers and the gigantic and colorful triangular flag bearers. The first Chinggay was found as great welcome and it has been organized by the People’s Association (PA) yearly with the budget of average S$2.3 million a year.
The Chinggay has gone through change since its first parade. From 1974 to 1984, Chinggay has been held at different housing estates every year. Since 1985, it has been held at Orchard Road every year and became a cosmopolitan event with the Chinggay in 2000 and 2001 with the participation of exotic groups from far-flung regions like Tahiti, Ghana, Brazil and Slovenia. Adding that, Chinggay is said to attract participation from the people like arts groups, interest groups, ordinary people and talented artists and commercial sectors as well. The evolution of Chinggay is referred as synonymous with the growth of Singapore and it is said representing the spontaneous expression of a new communal spirit and Singapore Soul, reflecting the collective dreams, cultures, and celebrations of Singaporeans and their lifestyles.
Chinggay in 2006
Chinggay largely consists of three parts, parade, street party and heartland events. On Saturday, 4th February in 2006, the Chinggay parade opened with firecrackers, flag twirling, band music. The first float with Guest of Honor, President S R Nathan on board proceeded while around 200,000 spectators were watching. Following the first float, Jumbo Dog float, the animal of the year 2006 proceeded and performances and processions like ‘Chinggay Tradition’ consisted of Nine-lion Dance and Pole Act and ‘Carnival Celebration’ with float dancers and jumbo floats from Singapore local companies and Singapore Tourism Board were made in the parade and exotic and local performances representing Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Angola, Ireland, Malaysia and Singapore were followed with the finale featuring a super jumbo dragon float and 33 dragons on ground. After the parade was over, the street party was held at Orchard road for two hours with the DJ Koflow from Momo club rated Best New Club of the Year 2005. Heartland events are community level Chinggay floats parades and live screening services of Chinggay Parade and stage performances at main points in Singapore, central, north east, north west, south east and south west. In 2006 also, the Heartland events were made at community level.
Chinggay in 2008
Chinggay in 2008 is thought to be more magnificent than ever. Chinggay in 2008 will be held at City Hall areas on Saturday,16th Feb 2008 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm with the all night street party from 11:00 pm instead of Orchard Road, which is considered as the permanent venue of Chinggay since 1985.
This new year’s Chinggay will feature the prelude with 33 Ferrai cars, love boat with 5 wedding couples on board and the first and biggest 10-meter long human powered structures in Chinggay history representing different community sectors in Singapore (Geylang Serai Constituency, PA Youth Movement, Hindu Endowment Board, City Harvest and Kowloon Club) with the theme of “Unity, Strength and Vibrancy”. At the opening, 18-meter whale shaped jumbo float with a sailor cutter boat and dancers in costumes of sea creatures will transform the facade of City Hall into a blue ocean amid 4-meter wide towering jellyfishes floating elegantly above the audience.
Ticketing for Chinggay in 2008 started on 21st November 2007 via e-ticketing system and ticketing hotline and Singpost outlets. The price for Preview on 15th February 2008 ranges from 15S$ for Category3 to30S$ for Category2 and to 50S$ for Category1 and the price for Parade on 16th February 2008 ranges from 20S$ to45 S$ to 70S$.
Welcoming the new year at Chinggay parade would be all Singapore residents’ wishes. Hope as many readers of this article as possible could have a chance to enjoy Asia’s grandest Street & Floats Parade and to experience beauty, gaiety and excitement of Chinggay which this article couldn’t cover at site.