Watching Chingay Blossom: The Tale of Chingay and Sneak Peek into Chingay 2024!

The colourful floats. The screaming of thousands of people in your ears. The soul-touching music. The beautiful performances by people from all walks of life, all over the world. Such is the magnificence of the annual Chingay parade. Being there in your very seat and watching the parade unfold before your eyes is the only way to experience the true magic of Chingay. But the virus-that-shall-not-be-named robbed this from us for a while. Until now. This is the tale of the grand affair we call Chingay…

The Chingay Parade officially started in 1973 as a street parade celebrating Chinese New Year. With the 1972 ban on firecrackers, which were once a customary Chinese New Year practice to ward off evil spirits, Chingay became a way to make up for lost fun and liven up the atmosphere. What started as a small street parade has evolved into one of the nation’s most awaited events on the calendar. The air feels different. The city comes alive with anticipation. What a time to be in! 

Evolution of Chingay: Chingay50
Their arduous fight here reminds me of our fight against the virus that took over our world.

But in 2021, Chingay faced a challenge like no other. Putting the whole world on pause, the virus-that-shall-not-be-named threatened to put a stop to Chingay as well. The only shred of normalcy that was left hung in the balance as the whole nation waited with bated breath for news on whether Chingay would join the list of events cancelled due to the virus.

But who was going to tell COVID-19 (yes, we’re naming it now) that in a world where everyone is forced to masquerade behind masks, Chingay’s glorious performers take pride in their masks and costumes to put on a show you’ll never forget? 

Nothing could stop the show. Not then, not now, not ever. Behold, for this is the tale of Chingay.

Chingay 2021 – “Light of Hope”

In 2021, we witnessed a digital Chingay for the first time. With the theme “Light of Hope, ” Chingay 2021’s transition to a digital parade became a ray of light during a time of darkness. 

It showed that we may be going through the scariest thing the world has collectively faced in a long time, but it’s also come during a time when we’ve equipped ourselves. Technology truly became a bridge for us all as we clung to it for support during those precarious times. 

With over 2000 performers and 150 organisations from Singapore and around the world, Chingay did not hold back. It even used computer-generated imagery (CGI) to enhance the performances and present us with not just physical but also virtual performances from six parade segments. 

While celebrating Chinese New Year, Chingay 2021 also celebrated the Singapore spirit. With the new inscription of Singapore’s hawker culture into the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Chingay included an act that celebrated the hawker culture and also began a sensational challenge – the #HawkerCultureJingle! It’s impossible not to remember those days.

And not to forget the iconic performance of more than 500 Singapore residents coming together to sing As I Believe by our local Mandopop star, JJ Lin. Along with other off-ground highlights like the #WeGotTalent2021 and the #ChingayMamaShop that also followed through the next few years, Chingay 2021 was evidence of Singaporeans’ unity and perseverance that strengthened us to get through those terrifying times.

Chingay 2022 – “Ignite Our Dreams”

With 2022 came hope. There was hope for normalcy, hope for things to turn back to normal. And boy, did hope feel good. Held at Jewel Changi Airport, Chingay 2022 was a hybrid of live and digital elements. While it was still live-streamed due to the same said virus, the uniqueness of Chingay 2022 meant bringing physical elements of the show to us. 

In 2022, we also celebrated 50 years of Chingay! Coined as Chingay50, while we all wish we were doing greater justice to this wonderful milestone, it was admirable that the parade continued the way it did under our unfortunate circumstances. It showed our innovation and grit and how we never back down. Say it with me: never back down, never what? 

Celebrating 50 years of Chingay means celebrating 50 years’ worth of stories and memories. It means remembering the impact and journey Chingay has led and inspiring the next generation. It means remembering that anything is possible and igniting our dreams. Hence, the theme, “Ignite Our Dreams”.

During a time when we couldn’t watch Chingay’s iconic floats parading in front of us, Chingay wow-ed us with an ingenious campaign – #HeyChingay50Bus. It brought the floats to us, right down to our roads and streets where we could see them every day and also enjoy in-bus experiences that elevated our commute. It was exhilarating to board these buses, knowing you’re sitting in something that will be deemed historic in times to come.

Chingay50 was a step closer to normalcy and a celebration of our journey– certainly one for the books.

Chingay 2023 – “Embrace Tomorrow”

And finally. Finally, we saw the return of a live Chingay parade! Back at the F1 Pit Building, it felt like Chingay had returned home. With over 10,000 residents, artists, and art groups coming together, we saw 3,000 performers take our breaths away as they finally took the stage for the first time in two years!

In its 51st edition, Chingay 2023 shifts its focus from the past to the future with its theme, “Embrace Tomorrow”. After two digital parades in response to it-that-shall-not-be-named, this physical parade promised a new future for Chingay, one we know we’re strong enough to face, no matter what comes our way!

The parade saw many stunning features that made its physical return all the more highly anticipated, starting with the spectacular container art installation curated by Sam Lo, together with 480 youths! These 28 containers stack above one another to create a stage like no other. These containers were designed using spray paint to express their vision of “Embrace Tomorrow”. Across these walls were their goals and aspirations for the future of Singapore. 

There was also the Rabbits ART-Venture installation, made by 2,000 students from eight schools and institutions. These rabbits were all different shapes and sizes, representing our country’s various voices, communities and aspirations. 

What’s next, then?

It felt like a fever dream to finally see the Chingay Parade return to its full glory. You might even say that Chingay blossomed through the thunder and lightning to make it to us in this sunshine. After everything we went through, it felt so worth it to sit in that crowd and witness the magic of Chingay all over again. And, lucky for you, the magic is yours to feast on at Chingay 2024!

Returning to the F1 Pit Building, Chingay 2024 will definitely be bigger and better than ever. With up to 32,000 seated audiences over two nights, the Parade will feature 3,500 performers, 17 community-made floats, five Chingay large floats and for the first time, Singapore’s longest interactive floor projection for a street parade ever, at a whopping 230 metres! On top of that, Chingay 2024 complements your experience with the PAssionArts Street, which will feature art installations co-created by the residents and community artists. Oh, the goosebumps!

This year’s theme is “Blossom“, fitting for the journey Chingay has had thus far. Chingay 2024 will carry this theme religiously with a continuous flower motif throughout the six acts. Different flowers represent the different aspects of Singapore’s rich tapestry of culture and traditions. The Parade will be narrated by two main characters that you absolutely cannot miss – the Gardener of Singapore and the Flower Fairy!

As if the Parade isn’t fantabulous on its own, Chingay spoils us with the return of Chingay@Heartlands, which will bring the Chingay experience closer to the community with a myriad of floats parading through various residential estates over several weekends, starting from 25 February 2024. 

But let’s focus back on the Parade. It’s inching closer and closer as the Lunar New Year approaches. There’s much we still don’t know about the Parade. But, of course, you can always count on us for the goss!

The performances this year look like they’re going to blow us away. Expect to see the most unexpected items being used as props. Hint hint: ukeleles? Umbrellas? Fake swords? The beauty of art is using anything that inspires you to tell a story that, in turn, inspires someone else. And that’s what all the performances at Chingay 2024 will look like!

It seems like Chingay 2024 is also about expecting the unexpected. We may be in the year of the dragon, but don’t be surprised to see an otter making an appearance for its fans! We promise it’s the most adorable thing you’ll see.

What’s the highlight of every Chingay Parade? Yes, the performances. The stage. The magic. But we can’t forget the stunners of the night – the floats. Expect to see 17 floats adorned in a gazillion colours, capturing the magic of our melting pot of a community. But the million-dollar question(s) remains – what will the biggest float be? What colour will it be? Curiouser and curiouser!

And finally, cyclists, rejoice! You will see something that will surely tickle your fancy at Chingay 2024 – cyclists, young and old, showing off their tricks and leaving you bedazzled by their skills! As someone who still struggles to cycle in a straight line (I’m a late-cycle bloomer), I’m sure this will leave my jaw glued to the ground.

Ladies and gentlemen, this was the tale of the Chingay Parade. It has the most beautiful story, the most heartwarming growth and inspirational lessons for us to take away. Truly, we are capable of getting through anything in our way, whether as individuals or as a country. Oh, Chingay, it is an honour being in your midst every year without fail.

If Chingay has taught us anything, it’s that we take the chances we get and we never hold back our fighting spirit. And how wonderful is it that this spirit is so reminiscent of that of a dragon, who we celebrate in 2024? So, embrace the dragon in you and be bold. You can start with buying your tickets to Chingay 2024 right now. Sheath your swords as you take on the easiest ticketing experience the ticketing gods have ever bestowed upon us.

Singapore, I feel the electricity in the air. I feel your boldness shining through. I know you’d never hold back on a celebration this massive! Come celebrate the journey we’ve led as a nation thus far. 

After all, it’s Chingay. It’s the People’s Parade for a reason.

Chingay 2024

🗓️Date: 23 and 24 February 2024
📍Location: F1 Pit Building, 1 Republic Blvd, Singapore 038975
💲Ticketing Prices:

Seat Category
Parade 1
Friday, 23 Feb 2024
Parade 2
Saturday, 24 Feb 2024

*PAssion Card members enjoy 20% off on all admission tickets.

Let the dragon in you roar, and get your tickets to Chingay 2024 from the SISTIC website.

We may have dropped some hot deets, but there’s so much more coming your way, so stay tuned to the official Chingay website and their socials on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok for more!

Visuals courtesy of People’s Association.

Baani Kaur

Aspiring to achieve great heights like every human in the world, but till then, enjoy the most dramatic and sarcastic person you will ever read from.

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