Festival: Chingay Parade

Chingay Parade Singapore

Acknowledged as the best parade in Asia, Chingay Parade is a vivid celebration of Singapore’s cultural richness.

The word Chingay is the phonetic form of the Hokkien character to describe "the art of costume and masquerade". It comes from the Chinese tradition, where pugilists, dancers, miniature floats and giant replicas of dragons and lions would parade in the streets to celebrate Lunar New Year. Although it could be found in most countries with large Chinese populations, the Chingay Parade was introduced with official ceremony in 1973 by Lee Kwan Yew and the People’s Association (PA).

The Chingay Parade was meant to enhance the festive mood after firecrackers had been banned from the festivities due to a fire mishap. Over the years, the tradition has evolved into this iconic event, where all citizens, whatever their ethnic groups, creed, language age or background come together to reaffirm and celebrate Singapore’s unique multi-cultural identity.

The Chingay Parade 2012 celebrated its 40th Anniversary with splashes of colours and water as for this Water Dragon Year, the theme of the Chingay Parade was "A Waterway Parade of Love and Care". On that day over 2, 200 marshalls, ushers and motivators and more than 8,000 passionate performers from over 100 organisations, such as community clubs, interest groups, ethnic bodies, schools, foreign communities in Singapore helped to make this one of the main events of the year.

In order to enhance the "Inclusive, caring and vibrant" character of the Chingay Parade, a pre-event entertainment was held outside the F1 Pit. PA got talents arts and culture fiesta under the theme "Kindness at Rhythm".  Zumba, social dance and artcraft activities were organized to raise funds for helping 1,000 students from low income families to participate in PA Holiday Kiddy Courses & Programmes. Besides, PA helped the less-privileged and physically challenged members of the community: 6,000 less privileged residents were offered to attend the event as the Chingay Parade’s guests in a donation of S$122,000 from 325 individuals and 6 corporate companies.

During Chingay Parade 2012, the audience and community was brought Peace & Prosperity by the majestic 88-metre long Prosperity Flying Dragon accompanied by the 35-metre flamboyant Phoenix. Some other highlights of the talents who walked the 360-metre water way included: The Gods of Fortune (Fu), Prosperity (Lu) and Longevity (Shou), who walked in stilts with pyrotechnics effects in reminiscence of the firecracker tradition.

We loved the powerful Zhanjiang Hanan Dragon Dance, for which 60 strong men performed using their bodies acrobatic skills to dance, accompanied by the sounds of drums and gongs, like a flowing Chinese dragon.The Exotic International culture was a sparkling and engaging segment with joyful Japanese performers, graceful Taiwanese and Egyptian dancers and Indonesian participants who performed the Indonesian Helaran Ceremony.

The Chingay Parade was a real feast for the ears and the eyes, with sumptuous fireworks and participants cheering: "Chingay Chingay, we are one! People, People, we are one! Parade, Parade, we are one! Singapore, Singapore, we are one!"

With 44,000-ticketed seats and an excited 80,000-onsite audience, Chingay Parade 2012 was a resounding success, bringing Singapore’s communities truly together.

Watch our Chingay Parade 2012 video and see how splendid it was. 


For even more enjoyment read our article Chingay Parade 2013  themed "Fire In Snow", symbolising resilience and bravery.