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Welcome to the Year of Ox! Here are some pics taken from Singapore Chinatown just before Chinese New Year. These cute golden oxen are just located at Chinatown Point.

As I mentioned in my earlier Chinese New Year article, red is liberally used in all decoration during this festive season. Someone once asked, “Is red the main color of China (clothes, lights, sauce, hong-bau, firecrackers, communism, flag, roofs, etc)?

Here is an answer which I found from the web: Red symbolizes good fortune. There is an ancient Chinese legend about a man-eating beast called “Nian” which is a predatory creature. To scare off Nian, people covered their homes with the color red and filled the air with loud noises, ie. fire crackers.

Chinese like to grace their gates and doors with Chinese New Year’s couplets which are written on two strips of red paper. The red couplets are composed of sentences that complement each other and often rhyme. Nowadays, we hardly see handwritten couplets; these are all printed with different designs.

Of cos, these are not the real fire crackers. Fire crackers are banned in Singapore, unless for official use.

Lion dance toys and other decorations for homes.

Chinese lion dances can be categorised into two styles, Northern and Southern. The right one below in red, orange and yellow belongs to the Northern dance which was performed as entertainment in imperial court in olden days.

The Southern dance is more symbolic. Like the one on the left pic below, the Southern dance is usually performed as a ceremony to exorcise evil spirits and to summon luck and fortune. Lion dancers are usually members of kung fu clubs; they train hard to master the skills. The southern horned lions are believed to the Nians, the legendary man-eating beasts.

i just noticed the right “lion” has the body of a cow! LOL

Before Chinese New Year, many Chinese visit Chinatown to shop around. Somehow, it becomes a must-visit site to enjoy the New Year decorations and to soak up the festive atmosphere. However, we can still get better bargains from bazaars in residential areas.

Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, Sri Mariamman Temple, is located at Pagoda Street, which is also in Chinatown area.

“Yuan Xiao” falls on the 15th of first lunar month (9 Feb), and that marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities. The day is also known as Lantern festival, and Tangyuan, glutinous rice balls, are eaten again!