With Christmas and New Year’s Eve distant memories, it’s time for Asia’s biggest annual celebration: Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year.
CNY is when billions of people travel home for reunion dinners, people and places don their festive finery and, in Singapore, we enjoy two (count ’em, two!) public holidays, 5 and 6 February.
The Finder has rounded up lots of ways to celebrate the holiday (in the gallery, below), and even ways to avoid the hullabaloo, if you’re not into visiting family. Not sure what all the fuss is about? Read up on Lunar New Year in SG here.
Come 14 February, it’s Valentine’s Day – another annual holiday rooted in ancient traditions (in this case, Roman ones). Today, V-Day gets mixed reviews from romantic cynics. But, whether you’re looking for Valentine’s date ideas, or prefer to do something outside-the-chocolate-box on the 14th, we’ve got options.
Oh, and did we mention, February is full of foodie events, live performances and other ways to embrace “spring” in Singapore. Gong Xi Fa Cai!
First, did you know that Singapore is celebrating its 200th year of being a country? Hence, the number bicentennial-themed events and exhibits kicking off 2019.
Case in point: Returning for its Bicentennial Edition, iLight Singapore features sustainable light art installations curated to the theme “Bridges of Time”, where it invites artists and audience to reflect on Singapore’s history, growth and connection with the world.
This year, the art festival expands its locations, from the original Marina Bay vicinity to include the Civic District, Singapore River as well as the Raffles Terrace at Fort Canning. Admission to this spectacular art festival is free. Visit its website for more information.
Co-curated with the British Museum to mark Singapore’s bicentennial anniversary, this exhibition showcases and illustrates the multi-layered perspective of Singapore’s founding father, Sir Stamford Raffles, as well as his complex legacy and journey during the days where he was stationed in Southeast Asia (between 1805 to 1824).
Furthermore, aspiring historians will be intrigued, as the gallery also presents the artistic and cultural heritage of the Java and the Malay world. Tickets cost $12 for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents and $20 for everyone else. Visit the website for more information.
1 February – 28 April, 2019
Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Pl, 179555
Inspired by vestiges of the past, this year’s Light to Night Festival revisits the culturally rich history of the Civic District. Each evening, immerse yourself in a world of wonder and serendipity with engaging interactive sculptures and artworks, projected on the outdoor areas of the National Gallery Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum, The Esplanade Park and more.
Some of the features include a giant time capsule created by OH! Other Half, old shipwrecks and nostalgic games organised by Mash Up Collective and Sebastian Chun, as well as a tunnel of dreams curated by the students from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. Admission is free for all programmes. Go here for more information.
1 February – 2 February 2019, 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Bring your little ones to Sentosa’s Palawan Green for some fun and excitement at TOYBOX, an inaugural event featuring seven popular Hasbro brands such as Transformers, My Little Pony and Monopoly, to name a few. Apart from the food, beverages and merchandise stalls at this live carnival, participants can look forward to their entertaining and enjoyable activity zones.
Some highlights: Super Claw, an oversized twist on the human claw machine arcade game, and Cluedo Tudor Mansion, an escape room modelled after the popular board game. Admission is free. Coupons for games, activities, food and beverages will be available for purchase on-site. Visit the website or Facebook page for more information.
1 – 17 February
Siloso Beach Walk
The Olivier Award-nominated theatre adaption of The Tiger Who Came to Tea hits the stage at the Drama Centre Theatre, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Judith Kerr’s classic tale.
Adapted by David Wood, this delightful musical tells the story of a tiger who shows up unannounced for afternoon tea with Sophie and her mum, and ends up eating and drinking everything in the house – including water from the taps – thanks to his enormous appetite! Purchase tickets here.
1 February – 3 February 2019, various timings
#03-01 National Library Building, 100 Victoria St, 188064
Usher in the Year of the Pig with Spring Surprise, a festive carnival held at Gardens by the Bay. This nine-day long event includes activities such as an LED performance of an auspicious Chinese myth titled Carps Leaping Over the Dragon’s Gate, lion dance acts by an award-winning local lion dance troupe and Spring Street — a festive bazaar that retails Chinese New Year related souvenirs, crafts and artisan handmade accessories.
Programmes are free for everyone, however, admission charges to the Flower Dome still apply for activities happening within it. For more details of this event, visit the GBTB website here.
2 – 10 February
18 Marina Gardens Dr, 018953
Chinese New Year is not complete without a visit to The Float @ Marina Bay, where the annual River Hongbao is held. Expect fun attractions — such as dodgem cars, Ferris wheel and teacup rides — as well as engaging interactive and food stalls at the carnival itself.
The biggest draw? It has to be the spectacular display of fireworks and lasers that illuminate the Marina Bay skyline every night at various times. The best show is definitely reserved for the eve of Chinese New Year (4 February), when fireworks will go off at 12 a.m. for 10 minutes. Admission is free. Visit the website for more details.
3 February – 10 February 2019, various timings
20 Raffles Ave, 039805
Learn something new this Lunar New Year at the Peranakan Museum: cooking demonstrations of traditional Peranakan — dishes to give you a taste of the upcoming celebrations.
Join in character tours in the galleries to prep for the tok panjang, a long table set for family reunions, and design your own plate inspired by the porcelain on display. Dress up to take a photo with your family in the photo corner, and don’t forget to wish your elders “panjang panjang umor” (live long and prosper)!
3 February, 1 to 5 p.m.
39 Armenian St, 179941
The Sentosa Boardwalk is a bridge linking VivoCity to Sentosa. This Chinese New Year, it will be filled with booths selling goodies and more for a holiday market. Take a leisurely stroll to admire the views, and shop to your heart’s delight.
5 – 7 February
Sentosa Gateway, Singapore
Soak up the auspicious feels of the Lunar New Year by catching this spectacular lion dance and drums performance at ION Orchard’s Atrium (Level 1). The spirited event will occur on six days at 3:08 p.m. each day. (Learn about why lion dances are a thing here.)
Furthermore, the God of Fortune will be roving around the Atrium on 5 and 6 February at 1:30 p.m. to hand out tasty festive treats. So, keep your eyes peeled if you want to get lucky and nab some delectable goodies! The event is free. Visit ION Orchard’s website for more information.
5, 6, 9, 10, 16 and 17 February, 3:08 p.m.
2 Orchard Turn, 238801
Craving a thought-provoking performance? Then, head to Victoria Theatre this February, where The Necessary Stage’s critically acclaimed play, Off Centre, makes a return after 26 years since its premiere in 1993.
Written by Haresh Sharma and directed by Alvin Tan, this play follows an unlikely friendship between Saloma and Vinod (played by Abdulattif Abdullah and Sakinah Dollah) and presents an honest perspective towards mental illness and the social stigma surrounding it. Standard tickets cost either $36 or $45. Visit SISTIC for more information.
7 – 17 February, various timings
9 Empress Pl, 179556
Why not harvest some fresh organic veggies for your Lunar New Year feasts? Join the limited-time spring harvests at Quan Fa Organic Farm and experience a piece of Singapore’s disappearing countryside! (Read more about this Kranji area here.)
This experience includes a guided tour and hands-on harvesting. Here’s where to get your tickets.
9 – 17 February
35 Murai Farmway, 709145
Launched in July 2011, ciNE65 aims to capture our Singaporean identity through the lenses of local budding film-makers. It encourages aspiring young film-makers to share what Singapore means to them.
This seminar is part of ciNE65 2019. Share your Singapore story and submit a 3-minute short film before 18 March, 2019! Visit for more details.
9 February, 2 – 3 pm
8 Raffles Ave, #03-01, 039802
Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles died in 1826. This talk by Friends of the Museum will survey and analyse the commemoration of Raffles during the first 75 years of colonial rule, through the commissioning of statues and the attachment of his name to establishments and institutions, and explain how these actions solidified and justified a British presence in the region and also the larger imperial story, which continues to echo in the modern nation-state of Singapore and its history.
11 February 2019, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Pl, 179555
From romantic date ideas you wish you’d thought of sooner to romantic restaurants you’ll swoon over, there are plenty of ways to delight and surprise your boo or bae (or whatever the kids are calling love interests these days) this 14 February.
Looking for something less, er, romantic to do? Keep reading… the next two events also take place on the 14th.
Join Friends of the Museum’s Explore Singapore! for a specially curated Singaporean experience – enjoy traditional bak kut teh with specially blended Chinese tea.
Hear the stories and historical events behind the branding of each tea blend and watch how the teas are blended using old-fashioned equipment. Have lunch at a restaurant which serves bak kut teh, literally ‘meat-bone tea’, a soup of pork ribs boiled with garlic and pepper till tender. Click here for more information.
14 February, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Higher. Further. Faster. The stars of Captain Marvel are coming to Singapore to Marina Bay Sands… on Valentine’s Day! Catch Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Gemma Chan (Minn-Erva), as well as directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
14 February, 7 – 9 p.m.
10 Bayfront Ave, 018956
This annual street parade, filled with decorative miniature stages, dancing dragons and prancing lions, is back for its bicentennial edition. Revolving around the theme “Dreams Funtasia”, Chingay 2019 aims to expand our understanding of Singapore’s history beyond 1819, beginning even earlier at 1299.
Some highlights: a first-of-its-kind painting depicting the past, present and future of Singapore that stretches 270-metre-long, skilled and cultural performances by diverse groups, as well as a stunning display of lights, lasers, pyrotechnics and fireworks. Go here for more details.
15 – 16 February
1 Republic Blvd, 038975
The hottest K-pop girl group of the moment, BLACKPINK, will be coming to town a day after V-Day to perform a one-night only concert at Singapore Sports Hub. Though the tickets to this highly anticipated show have sold out, fans who did manage to nab these coveted entry passes are in for a treat.
Get ready to be charmed by these four sopranos, who are expected to perform some of their top charting songs, such as Whistle (2016), Boombayah (2016) and Ddu-Du Ddu-Du (2018). We’re keeping our fingers crossed for Kiss and Make Up (2018). For more information, visit Singapore Sports Hub’s website.
15 February, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
1 Stadium Dr, 397629
Enjoy the February edition of Singapore’s favourite family market. Browse the array of stalls while the kids play. It’s sure to be a fun Saturday of good food and shopping at the Frank Food February Market.
16 February, 9 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
75E Loewen Rd, 248845
Stay in shape and give back to charity at the same time with Run for Hope 2019. Returning for its 26th edition, this meaningful annual run organised by Four Seasons Hotel Singapore and the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) aims to raise awareness for cancer research, so show your support for cancer victims and dedicate your run to someone special.
Featuring two routes, 3.5-km. and 10-km., rates range from $33 (for youths below 20) to $123 (for one adult and two youths), where all runners will be entitled to a goodie bag and a t-shirt. Part of the funds raised from each registration will be donated to the NCCS Research Fund. Get your passes here.
17 February, 6:30 – 10:30 a.m.
1 Stadium Dr, 397629
Organised by The Breathe Movement and supported by organisations like National Council of Social Service, the inaugural Singapore Mental Health Film Festival (SMHFF) aims to address the stigma towards mental health problems here. Held over four days at The Projector, seven Asian and Western films will be shown that highlight issues such as dementia, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Panel sessions will also be conducted, which will be moderated by Anita Kapoor and Noorlinah Mohamed, to further discuss these subjects. Tickets cost $18 for one film or $51 for three. For more information, head to the SMHFF website.
21 – 24 February 2019
6001 Beach Rd, #05-00, Golden Mile Tower, 199589
Inspired by the beloved book by the incomparable Roald Dahl, Matilda The Musical has taken both London’s West End and Broadway by storm, garnering five-star reviews across the board. Winner of over 85 international awards, including 16 for Best Musical, Matilda is now in its seventh year in London where it continues to delight audiences of all ages, and has been seen by more than 8 million people.
The Singapore season marks the first time the hit musical has ventured to Asia, having toured to Australia and New Zealand from 2015-2017. Book your tix online.
21 February – 3 March, various timings
Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave, 018956
Many expats live a cushioned life in Singapore. NCA believes it is important to look outside the so-called “expat bubble”.
Do you know how many domestic workers there are in Singapore? What their working and living conditions are like? What happens when things go wrong with the employer? And, what can we do to help them lead happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives while they are working here, away from their families?
NCA invites three experts in the field to tell attendees more about the life of domestic workers. Find out more here.
21 February, 7 – 9:30 p.m.
22 Camden Pk, 299814
Foodies, rejoice! The MICHELIN Guide Street Food Festival is back for its third edition! Look forward to a specially curated line-up of establishments recognised in the MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2018, who will present their signature dishes in this three-day event.
It’s a wonderful opportunity for gourmands to savour delicious offerings by these esteemed establishments in one seating, without having to travel to different corners of Singapore, or join the long waiting lists and queues. Go here for more info.
22 – 24 February
1 Garden Ave, 099621
Mention Josh Groban and you almost immediately think of his emotional, 2003 mega-hit, “You Raise Me Up”. The multi-platinum award-winning singer will be performing live in Singapore for the first time ever, and you can be sure that his soaring, powerful vocals will send you into music heaven.
Presented by Class 95 and Warner Music Singapore, his concert tour will feature tracks from his latest studio album, Bridges (2018), although we’re hoping he’d also belt out some of his well-known melodies, such as “Bridge over Troubled Water” and “Run”. Prices start from $108 to $328. Get your tickets from SISTIC.
25 February, 8 – 10 p.m.
1 Vista Exchange Green, #04-01, 138617
British electropop band Years & Years will be performing live in Singapore at the Star Theatre to promote its second album, Palo Santo.
Fans of the trio can expect them to perform some of their popular tunes from their 2018 album, such as “Sanctify”, “If You’re Over Me” and “All for You”. Tickets start from $88 (for Category 7 seating) to $148 (for Category 1 seating). Visit Apactix to get yours now.
27 February, 8 – 10 p.m.
1 Vista Exchange Green, #04-01, 138617
Boasting one of the strongest fields in women’s golf outside of the five Major Championships, the HSBC Women’s World Championship will see 63 of the top women golfers battle it out for the title at Sentosa Golf Club’s New Tanjong Course. American star Michelle Wie has confirmed her attendance to defend her crown at the four-day event, commonly referred to as Asia’s Major.
In addition, the ever-popular festival concept will be back, offering plenty of activities and outstanding food and beverage options for all to enjoy, in what promises to be four days of unmissable entertainment both on-and-off the course.
28 February – 3 March
27 Bukit Manis Rd, 099892
Aficionados of this English sport won’t want to miss the Singapore Urban Polo — a fun-filled event where music and polo collide (not literally!).
Besides three adrenaline-filled games of polo, there’s also a hotly-anticipated DJ line-up, sumptuous food and beverage offerings, as well as opportunities to rub shoulders with their star polo players, such as Sam Hopkinson and Nick Pepper. Rated R18, tickets start from $99.88 to $155.74. Get yours on Eventbrite. Visit their website for more information.
23 February, 4 – 10 p.m.
1 Bayfront Ave, Marina Bay, 018971
Join in for an evening of networking, libations and good conversation at Kilo’s Ladies Night. Connect with women and female founders in Singapore’s digital, tech and creative community. It promises to be a fun, informal evening where you can mix and mingle with fellow attendees, pick up a few tips and learn from each other.
28 February, 8 – 11 p.m.
21 Tg Pagar Rd, #01-02/04, 088444
By Sean Tham, Ho Guo Xiong + Sharlyn Tan / Additional Reporting: Sara Lyle Bow, January 2019
More on The Finder: