A walk down Chinatown’s 2023 Chinese New Year light-up

Chinatown’s Year of the Rabbit festive decorations will be lit up every night until Feb 19.

Liam Willett

Aspiring cat dad.

Published: 11 January 2023, 5:56 PM

Colourful rabbit lights, street lanterns, and the hustle and bustle return to the streets of Chinatown as the historical precinct gears up to leap into the Year of the Rabbit from Jan 3 to Feb 19.

While the light-up has been a tradition for over 20 years, what makes this new year’s light-up special is the resumption of the festive fair after two years, with the lifting of the majority of COVID-19 restrictions.

Organised by the Chinatown Festival Committee and supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, the festival features giant lanterns, weekly stage shows and a countdown party.

The festive lights adorn Upper Cross Street for the first time, joining the returning light-up of New Bridge Road, Eu Tong Sen Street and South Bridge Road.

Replacing the tiger decorations of yesteryear, this year’s light-up features colourful rabbit-themed lanterns.

The centrepiece is a 10m tall lantern featuring a multigenerational family of rabbits overlooking the intersection of Upper Cross Street and New Bridge Road.


The light-up was designed in collaboration with students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/LIAM WILLETT


The overhead bridge overlooking the centrepiece is a popular photo spot to take photos of the light-up. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/LIAM WILLETT


Many families and couples can be seen posing for pictures in front of the lights. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/LIAM WILLETT


Along Upper Cross Street, New Bridge Road, Eu Tong Sen Street and South Bridge Road, lantern decorations feature sculptured rabbits of various sizes, from kitten to adult.


The decorations are best seen from Maxwell instead of Cross Street due to the direction that the lanterns are facing. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/LIAM WILLETT


The lights will be on from 6pm until midnight every evening. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/LIAM WILLETT


The Chinese New Year bazaar also makes its return this year, with 280 stalls along Smith Street, Pagoda Street, Trengganu Street and Temple Street peddling Chinese New Year goodies.


Some stalls provide samples for customers to try before buying. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/LIAM WILLETT


The familiar sounds of Chinese New Year tunes and stall owners beckoning passers-by to patronise their stalls contributes to a very lively atmosphere at the fair.


The festive fair runs from 6pm to 10pm on Jan 1 to 21. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/LIAM WILLETT


Rabbits dominate the red packets and Chinese New Year decorations. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/LIAM WILLETT


Another welcome sight is the return of the Chinese New Year crowd made up of both locals and tourists alike soaking in the festivities.

Auxiliary police officers are deployed to patrol the streets of the festive fairs and at the entrances to manage crowds and restrict entry into the fair in the event of overcrowding.


The festive fair and food fair is open from 6pm to 10pm. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/LIAM WILLETT


In front of Chinatown Point are tablets featuring all the animals of the zodiac that serve as a fun photo backdrop.


Each of the standing mahjong tiles symbolise one of the 12 zodiac animals. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/LIAM WILLETT


Inside Chinatown Point, there is a small fair with a selection of Chinese New Year items including decorations, hampers and various goodies.


The fair is located in the atrium of Chinatown Point. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/LIAM WILLETT


As the light-up continues till Feb 19, visitors can check out the full programme and other upcoming activities at Chinatown on the Festivals’ website and Facebook page.

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