Chinese New Year at Thian Hock Keng temple
In Singapore, many events are held to welcome the Chinese New Year but for those who prefer something authentic and in a historical location, Thian Hock Keng temple is probably the best choice especially for non-Chinese visitors.
The main reason being that Than Hock Keng is a traditional venue that Hokkiens will do their New Year eve prayers and they have been doing this for many years.
The temple management is very hospitable to all guests and integrated facilities to help them understand the Hokkien culture and New Year customs. This year, there are even guided tours for the public to understand the temple heritage and Chinese customs.
There three main groups that can be spotted; the devotees usually with their families, the heritage lovers easily identified by their professional cameras and the cultural visitors who are usually non-Chinese.
The goat is coming!
As usual, devotees go about their prayers and thanksgiving. As these are going on, the tour groups move around the temple on their cultural tour.
This year, there is a wishing well for those who want an auspicious start for the New Year.
For those who prefer not to walk around, they can go across the street to watch the puppet show.
Just before mid-night, everyone gathers at the courtyard for the countdown. The New Year is signalled by the arrival of the God of Wealth who walk through the front gate and began distributing good luck candies. He is always a hot favourite with audiences who wants a piece of good luck.
This is followed by the lion dance and dragon dance. As they mingle with the crowds, some tries to touch the lions and dragons for good luck.
The performance always ends with mandarin orange slices arranged in a formation for the lucky audience to decipher the lucky numbers.
Happy New Year
As the Gold of Wealth leaves Thian Hock Keng, visitors go around for their last photo shoot or to pack up their offering before heading to Chinatown for last minute shopping or home to continue the celebrations.