Thursday, 19 February 2015

Chinese New Year's River Hongbao Carnival 2015


After our visit to Singapore Philatelic Museum, we walked to The Float @ Marina Bay to see the annual RHB's (River Hongbao 春到河畔) lantern display.

Sign board, The Float @ Marina Bay, Singapore
Sign board, entrance to the Float Platform
This annual tradition of 12-day carnival started on the 17 Feb (2 days before CNY Day) this year (and finishes on 28 Feb). We went there on the CNY (Chinese New Year) Day. Expectedly, it was quite chock-a-block as it's being a public holiday.

While we have been in Singapore since 2009, we didn't start this yearly tradition ourselves until the Year of the Snake 2013. This RHB tradition has been around for 28 years, a bit longer than our attendance.

We typically entered the carnival through the gate with the above sign to get to the Float Platform. Can't really call this a carnival without the fair rides. The amusement park rides are usually setup in the area between the Float Platform and Raffles Ave.

Carnival ride, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore
Carnival ride, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore 

The RHB this year is promised to be the biggest, because in addition to the usual CNY celebration, this year also celebrates Singapore's 50th birthday. And so some extra lanterns would be installed for this reason.

Main Entrance Arch, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore
Main Entrance Arch and the packed crowd

The main entrance arch this year, expectedly, was grander than previous years. The right half of the on the pillar of the arch says 建国五十 or "50 Years of Nation Building".

After the entrance arch comes the ranks of arches that form the Entrance Walkway that created a nice vanishing point that impressed the visitors .

Entrance Walkway, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore
Entrance Walkway
I don't remember that there were lantern displays being setup behind the bleachers' area. I think this is the 1st time that this was done, and they put the largest display there.

Peacock Couple, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore
Peacock couple lantern display entitles "Let's Celebrate Together!"

Peacock Couple and Goats, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore
The Peacocks and Goats displays installed behind and high above the bleachers area of the Float

Peacock Couple, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore
From this angle, they're kissing. "Pecking" is the perfect word.
Space between their necks: not quite a heart shape, more like a n upside-down vase.

The centre piece, at least the most high profiled, lantern figure has always been the GOF (God of Fortune), who has grown taller over the years in RHB carnival. This year, GOF has grown to a towering 18m tall (something like a 6 or 7-storey building). As I mentioned in this article, GOF is really the face of CNY.

He held a large golden ingot. Large gold coins fell out of his sleeves. In this ancient Chinese costume, pockets are hidden inside sleeves. This explains why they're so large, and flared out.

God of Fortune lantern display, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore God of Fortune lantern display, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore God of Fortune lantern display, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore God of Fortune lantern display, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore

As usual, there's a Mural Wall, and this year the theme is SG50, and the panel showed various Singapore icons.

SG50 Giant Mural Wall, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore

SG50 Giant Mural Wall, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore
Singapore icons from left to right: Stamford Raffles, Elgin Bridge, Singapore Airline, Sentosa, MRT, Singapore Airport, Supreme Court, Pinnacle @ Duxton, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands Hotel, ArtScience Museum, and last but not least, the Merlion.

Of course, there're always the traditional lanterns that are based on the 12 Chinese animal zodiacs. And as usual, the animal of that year - in this case - the Goat would get bigger lanterns.

Collage, 12 Chinese animal zodiacs, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore
Lanterns of  12 Chinese animal zodiacs

Some of the lanterns that based more on the local heritage to go along the SG50 theme includes the Dragon Slide partial replica that found in the Toa Payo HDB.

Dragon slide, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore


The photo below isn't an animal zodiac as there's no lion in the 12 Chinese zodiac. It isn't Merlion because it has 2 legs. It's Singa the Lion, created for the National Courtesy Campaign in 1982. It's the mascot of the Singapore Kindness Movement. This is all part of Singapore heritage with its various national campaigns that social engineered Singapore to what it's today: clean, green and an efficient machine. One of the national campaign was Keep Singapore Clean campaign. It was so successful that it exported to Australia in 1970s. Sydney today is almost as clean as Singapore. The quieter capitals of Australia are cleaner.

Singa the Lion, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore
Singa the Lion

There's also a lantern of a Wishing Well where visitors tossed coins, trying to strike the row of 5 bells that hung above the Wishing Well for wishes to come true. I threw some coins into it and wished for a 20% greenhouse gas reduction in the next 5 years, and a 50% gold price increase in the next 3 years. I'm not greedy. I didn't ask for world peace.

Wishing Well Lantern, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore
Wishing Well lantern

With that, I wish you maaaa...ny happy returns and a prosperous Year of the Goat!



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