Woof! Happy New Year!

Welcome to the Year of the Dog! Chinese New Year officially happened two weeks ago, but this holiday is far from a one-trick pony. No, it goes on and on, finally ending on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. This gives lots of time for celebration, from lanterns to lion dances (this is the Prescott version) and everything in between.

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Singapore loves a good holiday, and Chinese New Year falls second only to Christmas in the number of decorations festooning the buildings. They’ve put this thing (I’m really not sure what to call it) out in the front of my building …IMG_8787

… and they’ve even decorated the appalling fake topiary next to my lobby door:

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Some of the decorations, like this two-story-tall lady, feel somewhat random:

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But this is the year of the dog, so you mostly see a lot of dogs. Last year was the year of the rooster, which doesn’t leave a whole lot to the imagination in terms of design options. But dogs are another story, and the Chinese New Year dogs in Singapore are as different from one another as actual dog breeds (and mutts). I found a huge pink dog at Changi Airport …

IMG_7943… a red paper dog on our middle school library door …

IMG_8880.JPG… this little pup outside of a shopping center …

IMG_8915… and a line of these somewhat sad looking creatures (helped out by Prescott and our friend Everett) outside of a nearby shopping area:

IMG_7864I celebrated Chinese New Year in my own way by visiting the River Hongbao celebration down at The Float at Marina Bay. This huge, crowded, wonderful annual event comes complete with enormous “lanterns” and different entertainment every night. The whole thing is quite a scene.

IMG_8824.jpgThere were, of course, dog lanterns of all shapes and sizes:

IMG_8788IMG_8790IMG_8807IMG_8844So that no one feels left out, they have small lanterns for every animal in the Chinese zodiac. I visited the rooster (now a very small chicken, apparently):

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There were also many symbols of wealth and prosperity, because Chinese New Year is very much focused on these themes. Some are obvious, like this wishing well fountain …

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… and the God of wealth himself:

IMG_8821.jpgOther symbols require a tad more background knowledge, like pineapples …

IMG_8805.jpg… citrus fruit (don’t ask about the robot — that’s not part of the Chinese New Year tradition, and I’m not sure what it’s doing in this tableau) …

IMG_8809.jpg… and lettuce:

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There was actually an entire farm of carrots at River Hongbao.

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The carrots were part of a display that set out to tell a story called hao cai tou, based on a Chinese nursery rhyme about a farmer who grows a carrot so large that he needs his entire family — including the family dog — to help him pull it out of the ground.

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The River Hongbao celebration has a theme every year, and this year the theme was “My Home, My New Year.” So a number of the lanterns focused on Singapore housing. They had shophouses …

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… and shophouses with dogs …

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… and HDBs (government apartment buildings) …

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… and dogs outside of HDBs:

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They even had a lantern of the MRT!

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Best of all, though, was the fireworks show. I’m always a sucker for fireworks!

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