Friday, March 22, 2013

Chingay Parade

We really didn't know what we were in for when we got tickets for the Chingay Parade.  All we knew was that it took place at the end of Chinese New Year celebrations and it would be an amazing spectacle.

Instead of a parade that goes down the street ,this one took place at the Formula One grandstand. As we entered we received "goodie" bags with shiny gold pompoms to shake and (irritating) whistles to blow, so we could "take part" in the festivities.

The performances were down on the track; literally tens of thousands of people performed for us. It really felt like the Opening Ceremonies at the Olympics. The track was lined with torches and then the acts began. Dancers of all ages, intricate costumes, neon floats, stilt walkers, chinese operas,, pop stars... My photos can only give you an idea of the spectacle, entitled Fire and Ice.

The performances represented different cultures of Singapore, the first one being Chinese.  Fitting for the season, they first presented a typical New Year celebration including the dragons, warriors, gods and immortals.

These stilt walkers sauntered along for a while; then the lights went out and they started shooting fireworks like fountains out of their backs:

There was a special "green" dragon, made entirely of recycled soda bottles

And a flourescent centipede (a visiting group from China)

Some of the floats:

Singapore is a city state, but it has smaller communities called Community Development Councils (CDCs) that take care of local needs and recreation.They offer social services, but also courses like yoga, dance, cooking.  One act was thousands of people doing Jazzercise; they ended up doing Gangnam Style, of course.  But the one I got the biggest kick out of was this to advertise how much fun their cooking courses are:  every CDC was represented by a cooking cart with a real wok. They had celebrity chefs on floats with giant woks.  At a signal from the head chef, all the carts fired up their real woks, heated oil and garlic, then stir-fried vegetables!  It smelled so delicious!  Then young kids on roller skates collected the cooked food and they all went on to the next stopping point.  How much fun is that?!


After performances from Indian, Japanese, and Korean cultures, we had local pop stars prep us for the finale:  SNOW!  Gigantic towers floated in poured out foam that fell on us like snowflakes.  It went on for a long time, covering everyone with disappearing white flakes.

On the way out of the stadium, we paused to take some photos with performers and a happy group of ushers:

On the way home we passed by one of my favorite buildings in Singapore, the lotus-shaped Art Museum at Marina Bay Sands:

and came upon an acapella concert at the outdoor stage at the Esplanade:

A fun time was had by all!

No comments:

Post a Comment