Wan Qing Dragon Boat Festival returns from May 21 to Jun 3

Anticipate a line-up of tours, live performances, cultural workshops and more that will teach you more about Chinese culture.

Harshiyne Maran

Hidden talent: Knowing the lyrics to every High School Musical soundtrack by heart.

Published: 6 May 2022, 5:29 PM

The Wan Qing Dragon Boat Festival makes its return after a one-year hiatus, and will take place from May 21 to Jun 3 at the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall (SYSNMH). 

The Wan Qing Dragon Boat Festival is organised by the National Heritage Board, with its main festival weekend being on May 28 and 29. The event is dedicated towards celebrating the Chinese arts and culture through a specially curated traditional art exhibition as well as other festive programmes.

The main exhibition, titled Nian Hua: Of Deities, Guardians and Auspicious Art, is part of a collaboration between SYSNMH and the Three Gorges Museum in Chongqing, China. The exhibition will showcase Nian Hua (Lunar New Year prints) from various parts of China.


Some of the pieces on display date back to as early as the Qing dynasty. PHOTO CREDIT: SUN YAT SEN NANYANG MEMORIAL HALL


Visitors can obtain insights into the attitudes and values of the Chinese community, through examining the Nian Hua prints.

On top of the exhibition, there will also be a series of festival programmes such as heritage walking tours, live performances, cultural workshops and storytelling sessions.

One of such programmes is a tour titled Touring Temples: Legends and Artforms of Door Gods.

The tour delves into the importance behind the figures known traditionally as “door gods”. Door gods are often worshipped by the Chinese as spiritual protectors of any entrance. 

Images of the gods are usually found painted onto the double doors of homes, temples, and other buildings. The paintings adorn the doors as a symbol of protection for the premises and its occupants.


The guided tour will be conducted by a temple staff who will explain to visitors the history behind the gods. PHOTO CREDIT: SUN YAT SEN NANYANG MEMORIAL HALL


Participants will visit three local Chinese temples – Hong San See, Wak Hai Cheng Bio, and Thian Hock Keng Temple – to see the door gods within the premises.

It will be held on May 28 and 29, from 10am to 1pm. In order to attend the tour, patrons will have to purchase tickets online. Each ticket costs $20.

Another festival programme is a live performance titled Live on the Lawn: An Evening Performance.

Held on the front lawn, the performance will feature a traditional Chinese puppet performance by the only surviving Henghua puppet troupe in Singapore and a xinyao concert by the local band B.A.T.Men.


Xinyao is a distinctive style of music that can be identified through poetic lyrics with clean acoustic accompaniments. Often, performances consist of a group of people harmonising together, accompanied solely by the guitar. PHOTO CREDIT: SUN YAT SEN NANYANG MEMORIAL HALL


The performance will be held on May 28 from 5.30pm to 7pm. Admission is free.

The Wan Qing Dragon Boat Festival runs from 10am to 5pm daily, with closure on Mondays. During the festival weekend (May 28 to 29), the opening hours will be extended to 7pm. 

For the full list of festival programmes, head over to the memorial hall’s website.

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