26 January 2012


Happy 100th post! How fitting that this post is regarding a great celebration.

Paul and I celebrated the Gregorian New Year in the U.S., casually welcoming 2012 at Paul’s aunt’s house as we watched Carson Daly or Ryan Seacrest or someone on television and enjoyed some fireworks coming from the Golf Club in the back yard.

We typically go on a trip for New Year’s Eve but this year flying halfway around the world served as our trip. I originally wanted to be in Singapore for our first New Year’s celebration, but I have to admit that I really did not mind being home with family, especially New Year’s Day.

Even though we arrived in Singapore post-January 1, we did make it back to the island before another major Singaporean celebration – Chinese New Year. Surprisingly, I have not seen Orchard Road since my arrival so I missed the decorations that morphed from Christmas themes to dragon themes within days. I did, however, get to see plenty of decorations in other neighborhoods.

Chinese New Year typically falls on the second new moon following the winter solstice. This year, Chinese New Year occurred on Monday, January 23. Celebrations began days before the New Year; Singapore’s grand festivities kicked off Saturday, January 21 with a carnival, holiday ceremony featuring the celebrity-like Prime Minister, lantern lighting, street shows, dancers and fireworks.

The festivities continued Sunday but after waking up super early on only a few hours of sleep, attending the early church service and then spending the next 10 hours with a few families at a fantastic poolside barbeque, I was simply ready to go home and flop into bed. I am not sure if the planned shows and fireworks were on display that evening – a downpour erupted on my way home.

The day before the New Year is a time for family members to come together around a table and enjoy a reunion dinner. Restaurants all over the island were offering set meals for hundreds of dollars – up to more than S$1,000 at some locations.

Monday I decided to head into Chinatown. I was not sure if Chinatown would be closed or hopping due to the holiday. Some food shops were open but a good number were closed. Shops were closed but that did not stop people from invading the neighborhood.

According to the Chinese Zodiac calendar, the year of the dragon is the luckiest year in the 12-animal cycle, representing good fortune and intense power. I find this particularly interesting since Asia is slowly coming to power over Western societies like the U.S. and Europe.

I have to wait until 2018 for my Year of the Dog but that did not stop me from truly enjoying myself in this year’s dragon celebration.

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